Q&A - Ticketed for Crossing Double Solid Line to Avoid a Collision

Q&A ImageI have been ticketed for crossing a double yellow line just before the end of the right hand lane in a passing zone. The reason for this manoeuvre was I had been in the right lane and catching up to another vehicle, I switched to the left lane to overtake the slower moving vehicle, I estimate the speed variation to be around 30 KPH.

When I was just off the other drivers left taillight he suddenly spots the 200m sign and abruptly switches to the left lane. I don't believe he signalled but I was probably too close to have noticed. Rather than rear ending the other vehicle I did cross the solid lines as there was no oncoming traffic and I felt this was the safest move.

The other driver when noticing that I was there immediately jerked his vehicle back into the right hand lane, so my evasive action was correct. At this point the 200m merge area was getting close to the end and as the double line immediately went to a dotted line indicating it was safe to pass, and there was still no traffic approaching, I completed my pass pulling back into the proper lane after the dotted line had started.

Now my problem is that a traffic officer which I had spotted even prior to starting to pass originally, (it is a common area for them to set up their laser equipment) pulled me over and ticketed me for crossing the double solid.

I am bothered by this as I feel I took the appropriate action to prevent an accident. Hard braking and swerving to the other lane prevent me rear ending this vehicle. If I had gone to the right and he moved back over I would have been in the wrong for passing on the right.

I think I am bothered more by the fact the other driver didn't even get pulled over even though his actions could have caused an accident. If there had been approaching traffic I know for a fact I would have clipped his back end as I tried to move to the right, it was only because I did not have to move the full width of his car to the left that we missed each other.

Do you have any suggestions on how I can avoid this ticket?


At First Glance...

this appears unfair of the constable that wrote the ticket. Here is a driver doing his best to avoid a collision and he is punished for doing so.

I was inclined to agree at first until I sat and really thought about the situation as this driver explained it. I see the following points:

  • He is driving in an area where he knows police often do enforcement
  • He is closely appoaching a place where he knows that the two lanes for his direction of traffic end
  • He was behind the unsafe lane changer throughout the situation
  • The right lane was available to evade
  • After all of this he still completed the pass

What do drivers tend to do when they see impending police enforcement? If they are anything like me, they tend to slow down and I would suggest to you that the majority of drivers would behave this way. In addition, they focus more on the police than the traffic around them.

There is no indication of the speed zone involved here. It sounds as if it is on a highway outside of town, so for the sake of discussion I am going to assume an 80 km/h speed zone. This is approximately 22 meters/second. The vehicles involved are in the neighbourhood of 200 meters from the end of the right lane. This is about 10 seconds of travel time. Even if the difference in speed is 30 km/h, 10 seconds may not be enough time to pass safely.

Being behind the other vehicle throughout and explaining that he did brake tends to suggest that braking alone would have been enough to avoid the vehicle in front. The driver obviously felt that it would not be and chose to steer in addition to braking. I cannot second guess this call but can second guess the decision to enter the oncoming lane instead of the lane to the right. Chances are good that the driver he complained about moved back because they saw that they had erred and were attempting to correct. It is possible that if he had moved right, the other driver would have seen that and remained in the left lane, which is much safer for all concerned. I agree, it is also possible that the driver would have moved right in any event. A collision here may have been more survivable than one that would have occurred in the oncoming lane if the driver had failed to see oncoming traffic.

As both vehicles neared the end of the passing area and after this incident, the driver still chose to pass. I always want an erratic driver in front of me where I can see them, not behind me where they are more difficult to keep track of. In addition, had the other driver remained in front, they could have been a more likely target for the officer. It would also have put this driver in a much better position to complain about the unsafe lane change.

What do you think?

Passing at the end of a passing lane

Is it just me or does this driver give the impression that he doesn't look and plan far enough ahead and drives with a sense of entitlement. This other vehicle is in his way and he shouldn't have to wait until the next safe and legal passing area.  A closing speed of  "around 30 KPH" tells me he doesn't drive defensively but somewhat agressively and selfishly.  I'm guessing he complains loud and long about other drivers bad habits without ever looking inside his own vehicle to see what is happening there.

Food for thought.

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