Ask Anne Marie: Who’s At-Fault When a Driver Is Turning Left and the Vehicle Behind Tries to Pass Causing an Accident?

A solitary guy driving his car at night.

We frequently highlight questions sent to our resident insurance expert, Anne Marie Thomas. This week’s question is about fault determination.

The question comes from Judy, who asks:

“My son was on the highway at night and slowed down and put on [his] left blinker to turn into our driveway ... a transport was behind him (but not on his bumper). Instead of slowing down, the transport pulled out to pass him and sideswiped him. Whose fault [is the collision]?”

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An at-fault collision will factor into your son’s auto insurance premiums for years if he is to be found at fault for it, but it sounds like the fault here lies with the driver of the transport truck, explains Anne Marie.

“When a collision occurs when someone is making a left-hand turn, it’s often because that person isn’t paying close enough attention to oncoming traffic. As a result, the person making the left-hand turn is typically found to be at fault for the collision. However, this does not appear to be the case in this situation. 

“It sounds as though the truck driver will be found to be at fault for the collision as he passed your son on the left when your son was making the left turn. That is a dangerous driving manoeuvre. Whenever a driver ahead signals they are going to make a turn, as good drivers, we should slow down and proceed only once that driver completes the turn; anything else is a risk not worth taking.”