22 Feb Pull Your Vehicle Over to a Safe Location After Your Accident

The case of Khudabux v. McClary, 2016 BCSC 1886, is a reminder for drivers to ensure that vehicles are in a safe location before seeking to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the collision. In this case the issue was whether the Plaintiff, Ms. Khudabux, was contributorily negligent for stopping her vehicle in a busy HOV lane after an accident.

The Plaintiff’s evidence was that she was travelling in heavy traffic when she realized the car immediately ahead of her was stopped. In an effort to avoid a collision, the Plaintiff swerved into the HOV lane to her left. She was unable to avoid the collision and clipped the car ahead of her.

Ms. Khudabux brought her car to a stop in the HOV lane and undid her seatbelt in order to reach into the glove box to retrieve her registration. She did not turn on her hazard lights. After being stopped for about 3 to 5 seconds she was hit by the Defendant who had swerved to avoid vehicles in front of him which had stopped abruptly as a result of the accident.

The Court held that Ms. Khudabux was entirely responsible for the first accident where she rear-ended the vehicle in front of her. The Court also held that Mr. McClary and Ms. Khudabux were both at fault for the second accident.

Ms. Khudabux was negligent for stopping her vehicle in a through lane, where it would foreseeably be an impediment to traffic. She ought to have anticipated that her stopped vehicle potentially posed a hazard to other drivers.

Ms. Khudabux also neglected to activate her four way indicators and she undid her seatbelt without checking the surrounding traffic. If she had been more aware of her surroundings she would have observed the heavy congestion caused by the accident and the need to take extra care in undoing her seatbelt and exiting her vehicle.

The Court held that Ms. Khudabux was 20% contributorily negligent, both for stopping her vehicle in the HOV Lane, and for undoing her seatbelt when it was not safe for her to do so.