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Topic Title: Slow traffic in dual carriageway tunnel
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Created On: 17 September 2013 12:56 PM
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 17 September 2013 12:56 PM
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About a month ago the Surrey Advertiser had an article about a crash in the Hindhead tunnel. Because there are cameras in the tunnel the driver in the fast lane was seen to suddenly brake whilst overtaking a lorry.
The drivers behind being too close hit the front vehicle and complained about bad driving by the front driver who appeared to be driving without due care and attention. The magistrate found in favour of them and fined the front driver for apparently braking without good reason.
Do you think he should have?? I expect they all lost their no claims bonuses though.
 22 November 2013 04:18 PM
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No, it is my understanding - has always been my understanding - that a driver has responsibility for whatever may happen in front of him or to either side but it is totally unreasonable to expect him to worry about traffic approaching from behind and to propose prosecution if he drives while looking over his shoulder?

Unless it is obvious that his braking manoeuvre was mischievous then the responsibility for a rear-end collision lies with the rear-most driver because it is clear that he was either driving too fast for the distance separating the two vehicles or, alternatively, he was driving at a reasonable speed but was unable to stop within the distance he had allowed - both conditions are breaches of driving protocols.

Mirrors, both inside and outside, are there to provide a quick glance to to check on conditions behind your vehicle; drivers in general are not expected to keep a permanent watch on a mirror-view to the rear while simultaneously paying attention to the constantly changing view to the front'

There is perhaps one exception to this rule and that is for the driver of a large - a long - vehicle. Commonplace manoeuvres for cars produce some very unexpected side-effects (for the untutored) and licenses for such drivers do impose responsibility for all who may be using that highway.

You said that the foremost rather was moving out into the fast lane when he had to brake. This adds one more offence for the rearmost driver. He did not have the right to follow the car in front as he moved out into the fast lane; he should have waited until the car in front had completed his overtaking manoeuvre before making any attempt to follow - and only then if there existed sufficient clear road for the double overtake.

Ken Green

Edited: 22 November 2013 at 04:25 PM by kengreen
 22 November 2013 05:46 PM
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Ken, read it again, he did not say, "...the foremost rather was moving out into the fast lane...."; rather that the driver was in the fast lane.

I know the Hindhead tunnel very well.

The lanes are separated by solid white lines. There is NO over-taking allowed in the tunnel.

If the driver was in the fast lane (70 mph) and passing a lorry and got spooked (say the lorry veered towards the centre lines) and hit the brakes, then the fault surely should be with the drivers behind. You must always leave enough space for the unexpected in front of you (but it is amazing the tail-gaiters you get in that tunnel.)

If, on the other hand, the driver WAS pulling out then hit the brakes; then damn-right that is his fault. There is no way a motor going up the outside lane should have to drive with the expectation of some wally pulling out over a solid white line then hitting the anchors. That is dangerous driving.
 22 November 2013 08:44 PM
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Sorry, but I thought that was the very point I made? In a rear end collision the following driver is always to blame.

It is a requirement in the Highway code and in the mind of every competent driving-examiner that you should always be capable of stopping within the distance that you allow to the vehicle in front.

I have long concluded that very few drivers even know that the Highway code exists - perhaps very few drivers have actually taken the driving test? ? One thing certain however is that a disgraceful majority of drivers don't give a damn because they know that they are good! Perhaps magistrates are included in that category ? ? ?

Ken Green

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