New case reported today relating to speed and overtaking
This case was reported today.
This case is quite relevant as I have often heard drivers say that they vehicle they were trying to overtake increased their speed as they tried to go past
JOHN ROBERT PYKETT (ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF GRAEME PYKETT) (Claimant) v (1) EBONY CLEMENT (2) NIG INSURANCE PLC (Defendants) (3) AVIVA (Part 20 Defendant) (2011)
 EWHC 2925 (QB)
QBD (Bradford) (Coulson J) 9/11/2011
PERSONAL INJURY - NEGLIGENCE - ROAD TRAFFIC
CAUSATION : CONTRIBUTORY NEGLIGENCE : DRIVERS : FINDINGS OF FACT : ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS : SPEED : LIABILITY RELATING TO ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENT : FINDINGS ABOUT CAUSATION : ALLEGED SPEEDING WHEN ATTEMPTS MADE TO OVERTAKE
A driver had not contributed to or caused a road traffic accident by speeding up as another driver attempted to overtake him. He had maintained a steady course in all the circumstances and the accident had been caused by the unsafe driving of that other driver.
The Pt 20 claimant driver (C) and her insurer sought damages from the Pt 20 defendant, representing a deceased driver (P), for personal injuries sustained as the result of a road traffic accident which it was alleged P had contributed to or caused.
C had been driving her car with three passengers along a road which had a number of bends and dips. P had been driving his car in front and a van had been driving behind her.
C had attempted to overtake P's vehicle but had to pull back into the lane upon seeing another car driving towards them. After passing a number of bends, C again attempted to overtake P's car. However, she was unable to do so and continued driving in the wrong lane for some distance when a van drove around the corner and a collision occurred between it, P's car and C's car.
C and one of her passengers sustained serious injuries for which C's insurers paid sums. It was accepted that C was negligent and had to bear the major part of the responsibility for the accident, but C and her insurers alleged that P had driven negligently and caused or contributed to the accident by speeding up when C began to overtake so as to prevent her from overtaking and moving back into the correct lane.
The court considered evidence from passengers in C's car, a passenger in P's car, the driver of the van behind C and the driver of the van involved in the collision.
HELD: The cause of the accident was the woeful driving of C who made not one but two dangerous attempts to overtake P where she should not have done. P did not speed up or slow down during C's dangerous overtaking manoeuvre.
The weight of the evidence pointed to that conclusion, including evidence from the driver of the van behind C, an entirely independent witness with the best view whose evidence was entirely reliable. To the extent that there were any changes in P's speed, those were gradual, and were explained by the changes in the road conditions.
It amounted to maintaining a steady course in all the circumstances and complied with the Highway Code. It was not for P to slow down or to take other steps merely to assist C to avoid the manifest dangers that her driving had created, Smith v Cribben (1994) PIQR P218 CA (Civ Div) followed.
C should simply have abandoned her second attempt to overtake and should have pulled in behind P's car, a manoeuvre which would have been very easy to execute. The evidence also suggested that C had always been aware that she was wholly at fault for the accident
Judgment for Part 20 defendants
Common sense prevails. Was 'C' prosecuted by any chance?
That is unknown as this only deals with the civil side.
Originally Posted by Hometune
Just emphasizes the care needed when overtaking. There is always the chance that a driver being overtaken might accelerate, and it would require a very good witness to support such an accusation. I always take particular care to allow for a much greater distance of clear road than I actually need. Also, when a vehicle in front of me carries out an overtaking manoeuvre, I always leave the vacated space clear in case that driver is forced to change his/her mind. It makes commonsense to realise that, in the event of an error of judgement, anything one can do to leave an escape route not only helps other drivers, but also reduces the risk of oneself being involved in a subsequent pile-up.
Two points spring to mind - until a driver learns to control the instinct, it is instinctive to speed up when being overtaken, extra overtaking space is required to account for this.
An ill judged overtaking manoeuver would feel to the overtaker as though the overtaken has speeded up. Put together they suggest Snowballs strategy appears to be correct.