Who's at Fault? Rules of the Road
You are driving cautiously, you signal, you obey traffic signs, you don’t speed. You get into an accident and it still may be your fault. Many people think they are not the at fault motorist in accidents. Common driving missteps that seem harmless can make you at fault if it causes an accident, not to mention if a police officer gets involved.
A frequent cause for at fault accidents is the turn on red infraction. Although the intersection allows you to turn on a red signal light, as opposed to a sign in addition to the light that states no turn on red, you still have to come to a complete stop for approximately three seconds. Even after the three-second pause, you can only go if it is safe to proceed. Many drivers take make the mistake of using a turn on red as a green light. If you are in an accident with regards to a turn on red, it may be determined that the accident is more than 50% your fault.
Another regular practice is the yield sign. Correct, you do not have to stop at a yield, but you may only proceed if it is safe to do so, there must be ample time for you to merge into traffic without interfering with the oncoming vehicles.
Probably one of the most common miscues is when a vehicle is rear-ended. Traveling along on the highway at the speed limit the car in front of you suddenly brakes, you hit their vehicle, and most likely in this situation you would be more than 50% at fault. Going the speed limit while behind another car is obviously the proper thing to do, but you also must leave enough distance between your car and the one in front of you to have enough time to stop in such a circumstance.
One of the most common and dangerous mistakes drivers make is the left turn in front of oncoming traffic. Drivers think they have enough time to negotiate a left turn in front of another vehicle but it ends in disastrous results. Again, in a situation like this the driver making the left turn is most likely to be at fault, unless it can be determine that the oncoming vehicles was approaching at a rate of speed far above the speed limit.
Sometimes proper driving takes more than just obeying the speed limit and stopping at red lights and stop signs. There are hundreds of driving rules that the average person has forgotten or has just never learned. A basic rule of thumb if you are unsure is to think, if someone else is already there, it’s his or her right of way. If you are entering their space they have the right to that part of the road first. This goes for merging on the highway, or changing lanes, those there first have the right of way.