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The Price of Courtesy: Liability for Waving Driver Into Traffic When It Isn’t Clear

 Wednesday, March 2, 2022

 Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.

Thomas Fuller once said, ‘All doors open to courtesy.’ It appears that this may now include the courthouse door.

Heavy traffic is moving along smoothly in all lanes of a four-lane boulevard when suddenly a vehicle in the right lane comes to a complete stop and waves to a vehicle waiting to enter the roadway from a parking lot or driveway on the right.

However, instead of turning in front of the stopped vehicle, the vehicle entering goes straight and attempts to cross both lanes of traffic and is broad-sided by a fast-moving vehicle travelling in the left lane.

A slow-moving truck signals the all-clear for the vehicle behind to pass. Who is at fault when it isn’t clear and tragedy strikes?

The vehicle in the left lane, the vehicle entering the roadway, or the kind-hearted motorist who was simply trying to be courteous and let somebody merge in front of him? The answer might make you a little less courteous the next time you are feeling generous.
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