The Importance of Safe Passing on Two-Lane Roads

yellowlineDriving can be a frustrating task.  One of the scenarios most likely to cause frustration is being stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle, especially one travelling well below the marked speed limit.  Knowing how to safely pass another vehicle is an important part of any safe driver’s repertoire.  Sadly, far too often improper passing leads to serious injuries or death.  As your Oakland car accident injury attorney, Greg Brod can help if you are a loved one are injured in Northern California by someone else’s dangerous passing attempt.

Police Eye Passing Attempt in Deadly Northern California Car Crash

Police are eyeing a passing attempt as the cause of a deadly car accident near Rio Vista, according to a report by CBS SF.  CHP officials say that a Honda Civic was attempting to pass another vehicle when the driver lost control of the car, veering back into the passing lane and colliding with an oncoming Chevy Silverado.  The Silverado’s four occupants were taken to the hospital but are not believed to have serious injuries.  Unfortunately, five people who were in the Civic died as a result of the crash.  The deceased include a teenager and two three-year-old children.  Police report that all of the people in the pick-up were wearing seatbelts, but they are unsure if the Civic’s occupants were buckled in and they only found one car seat inside the vehicle.  It is unclear whether recent wet weather was a factor in the crash.

Safe Passing Tips for Two-Lane Roads

While passing on a two-lane, two-directional road accounts for relatively few accidents compared to other maneuvers, these accidents are more likely to be severe than non-passing accidents according to a federal study (note: the study is somewhat old but appears to be the most recent in-depth look at passing accidents by a U.S. agency).  Online advice site WikiHow lists several steps to ensure a passing attempt proceeds safely:

  • Look at road markings to ensure passing is legal and that you will not need to exceed the speed limit during the passing attempt;
  • Ensure you can see the lane you will be using to pass. Watch for hills, curves, signs, tunnels, bridges or other factors that might impede your view or otherwise make passing unadvisable;
  • Observe all traffic conditions, including behind you. Use your mirrors and be sure to check your blindspots;
  • Pull closer behind the vehicle you intend to pass and signal your intent to switch lanes;
  • If all conditions appear safe, move into the opposing lane and accelerate quickly and smoothly;
  • Pass the slower vehicle and check to make sure you at least two car lengths ahead of the other vehicle before moving back into your travel lane. Do so quickly, but safely.

Passing and California Law

Addressing passing generally, California Vehicle Code Section 21751 permits passing on a two lane road only when “the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.”  Additionally, Section 21752 specifically prohibits passing: When a hill or curve obstructs the driver’s view; When the driver’s view is impeded by a bridge, tunnel, or viaduct within 100 feet of the passing location; Within 100 feet of a railroad grade crossing, or; Within 100 feet of any intersection.

An Experienced Car Accident Injury Lawyer for the San Francisco Bay Region

Passing is an important driving maneuver, but also an inherently dangerous one especially when it takes a vehicle into an oncoming traffic lane.  If someone else’s negligent passing attempt left you or a family member injured, call our San Francisco car accident lawyer.  You have rights, let us help you enforce them.

See Related Blog Posts:

Witnesses Report Passing Attempt Led to Fatal Car Crash

Drunk Driving: What Do BAC Numbers Really Mean?

(Image by Paul L Dineen)