Q & A - Misbehaviour at the Merge
Q: I was heading north on Bellevue Road in Errington and stopped at the stop sign at the Alberni Highway to make a left turn to head west toward Coombs. I was in a left turning lane and turning into the left lane of the highway.
There are two lanes westbound from the Parksville direction and through traffic is obliged to keep to the right lane.
There was traffic coming from the Parksville direction but none from Coombs so I safely made my turn into the left lane and accelerated to merge in.
As the right lane appears to merge in towards the left it should have been an easy merge; however there was a white van that accelerated to close the space that I could merge into and literally cut me off. I saw this coming so braked hard to avoid a collision.
My thoughts were that as my lane (the left lane) was straight and along side the centre line that I would have the right of way. My intention was to merge and adjust my speed but didn’t expect that white van to accelerate and tailgate the person in front of him and me to prevent me from merging (and in his mind) unjustly in front of him.
Like I said, I watched him in my mirrors so made sure I braked and gave him the room to cut in.
There is no yield or merge sign there so who has the right of way?
I will always give way to avoid an accident but it seemed reasonable to me that my vehicle had the right of way as the lane continues straight whereas the right lane must cut over and to the left to continue on when the right lane ends.
A: There really is nothing explicit here to tell a driver which lane is ending, as this sign does.
From your description, I'm going to assume that you used caution and judged your departure from the stop sign in order to accelerate to road speed (70 km/h) and merge with through traffic without causing a disturbance in traffic flow.
It sounds as if you did this, but the other driver decided that he had to be first. He could have shared and left you room to move over, even if you misjudged your merge.
Drivers may not be aware of their obligation when they approach an intersection that has traffic waiting at a stop sign on the cross street:
Entering through highway
175 (1) If a vehicle that is about to enter a through highway has stopped in compliance with section 186,
(a) the driver of the vehicle must yield the right of way to traffic that has entered the intersection on the through highway or is approaching so closely on it that it constitutes an immediate hazard, and
(b) having yielded, the driver may proceed with caution.
(2) If a vehicle is entering a through highway in compliance with subsection (1), traffic approaching the intersection on the highway must yield the right of way to the entering vehicle while it is proceeding into or across the highway.
This could also be an issue of making an unsafe pass on the right:
Passing on right
158 (1) The driver of a vehicle must not cause or permit the vehicle to overtake and pass on the right of another vehicle, except
(b) when on a laned roadway there is one or more than one unobstructed lane on the side of the roadway on which the driver is permitted to drive, or
(2) Despite subsection (1), a driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to overtake and pass another vehicle on the right (a) when the movement cannot be made safely, or
The other driver passing by you on the right ceased to be safe when you were forced to brake and avoid a collision.