BC Courts Coat of ArmsPeter Link was driving to White Rock from Richmond on an evening with 2 to 3 inches of new snow. On highway 99 between the highway 10 and highway 91 exits he was passed by an unidentified SUV. The SUV moved into Link's lane after passing at such a short distance that his windshield was completely covered by snow thrown up by the SUV's wheels making it impossible to see. Mr. Link braked, spun out of control and collided with the cable barrier in the center median. This court case determined that the SUV driver was negligent and responsible for the collision, not Mr. Link.

Of interest in the determination of liability is an examination of the responsibility of a driver who overtakes and passes another vehicle.


Read the Reasons for Judgment - Link v ICBC

I too always spin out and hit the median when I tap the brakes on the highway driving at 40-60km/h.

And while the written accounts can in-fact be the reality of what happened, the mysterious SUV cannot be the sole blame.
If a driver taps brakes and enters spin - that means:
a) Steering was also involved
b) Brakes force is spread unevenly (i.e. the rear brakes are not engaging)

Seems to me that there is more to the story, but one thing is clear - ICBC will reimburse this driver and the funds will come from our collective premiums - and if I'm one of the drivers to pay for the replacement vehicle, I would've liked to have seen assurances that all aspects of this loss were investigated, and that the driver will not continue to get vehicles written off at no cost every time a "rooster tail of snow" (seriously - that doesn't even happen in the worst of snowed in highways) lands on their windshield.

Cannot agree with everything "Outrageous" says. Completely agree with the court's decision. Given the proximity to the ocean, that would certainly have been a rooster tail of slush - not powder snow. There are certainly drivers who are and will remain ignorant of the effect of heavy braking in slushy conditions. Are we to insist - rather than recommend - that they stay off the roads during adverse conditions? Certainly not.  The driver could have been frightened enough to jam on his brakes. Perhaps it was one of the ubiquitous front wheel drive cars, whose front brakes will stop wheel rotation before the rear brakes do. The mysterious driver of the SUV was 100% to blame for our premiums to have been used to compensate that - and future innocent drivers - who may simply not have the choice to stay off the highway. That is one of the raison d'etre of car insurance.

If you take the time to read through the circumstances of the case, there's no doubt that the overtaking driver, barreling past in the adjacent lane, triggered the collision.

Would this have happened to me, if I had been Mr Link?  Probably not.  I would have seen it coming; and besides, after more than 40 years of driving through every winter condition this country can throw at us, from so-called black ice in Alberta to extreme snow cross-winds near Revelstoke to white-out blizzards in Winnipeg to driving around the lakehead of northern Ontario in January, I've seen it all.  And on the highway, I don't drive slowly unless I have to.

But in BC, we're wise to remember that it's twice as slippery at -1 as it is at -20.  And if you're not confident and competent behind the wheel, then whether you tap the brake or hit it hard - whether you have the 'feel' of where you're headed, and your steering response - is largely dependent on training and experience.

Mr Link was doing his best to maintain safe control in a shared environment, in a way that corresponded, in terms of lane use and speed, to 99% of those around him.  The fool who overwhelmed him in his truck, without regard for those sharing the highway, caused this crash; not the driver who was doing his best to maintain the safety of himself and his passenger.

both of your replies are inconsistent with the facts as they were presented in the case:

a) Mr. Link didn't jam on the brakes - it is described as a light tap (para 5)
b) Mr. Link saw the approaching vehicle in advance (para 5)

I question the existence of the conveniently mysterious black SUV.

It is a very difficult situation,  I understand that another road user could cause one to lose control with-out direct contact. But I also understand that a head gasket repair can run up to $4k and it isn't too difficult to write off a modernish car without too much physical pain ;)

Certainly I voluntarily accept the personal responsibility to overtake responsibly and I strive to make my manoeuvrings with the least impact on other road users. And I think the purpose of this post here is to highlight the responsibility on the driver to execute their passes in a respectful and caring matter.