Dramatic dash cam footage reveals a crash on the M6 involving a number of vehicles. Thankfully of all involved only 1 person was taken to hospital who later recovered, but the footage itself reveals a selection of faults by the various drivers which resulted in the collision, leaving the internet asking questions about liability.
Errors, errors, errors
The footage (above) shows the possible results of a number of errors and misjudgements while on the road, particularly while on the motorway. While no single person could be considered “to blame” there are plenty of poor decisions which reduce reaction time and options when the camera owner realises how close the static cars are.
Let’s meet the players and their role in the drama:
The dashcam owner
The driver that collides with the barrier and Renault. The driver initially seems to be driving safely in the outside lane, keeping a distance from the BMW in front and overtaking the slower, heavy vehicles in the 1st and 2nd lanes.
The argument for placing blame on the driver is that they did not keep to the “two second rule” which is to try and keep a two second gap between yourself and the car in front. This “should” allow you time to move when there is a problem. Doing so has meant they have had no choice but to move into the empty space but unfortunately ended up running out of room and collided with the Renault. The driver can be accused of being fixated simply on the car in front and not attempting to gauge traffic in front by using available vision through the car in front’s windscreen.
In the driver’s defence they have actually made the best of a terrible situation, avoiding rear-ending the car at the back of the traffic and potentially causing much more damage. It can also be argued in their defence that the BMW in front simply swerved far too late giving them no time to react, coupled with the white van blocking the middle lane and giving it no room to escape.
The house moving HGV
While not involved in the actual accident, the HGV does pose a problem of visibility for a lot of drivers. It moves out into the middle lane to overtake a lorry. We very rarely ever see unusual load bearing vehicles move into overtaking lanes as A) they often don’t travel at speeds exceeding 60mph and B) it is often best for them to continue straight for the safety of their load.
In this instance the lorry overtaking could be accused of making a bottleneck in the far right lane as it usually takes longer than a regular car for one HGV to overtake another. With the traffic in the far lane approaching, the lorry gives the drivers in the middle and right lane few options for movement to help traffic flow. Not a crime but definitely not helping the situation.
The white van
In this video, the driver with the dash cam could have some recourse in asserting blame onto the van driver. Once the driver has passed the HGV in the middle lane, we are fast approaching the static traffic. With the cars on the right coming to a stop, paired with the van driver’s better vision of the road due to being in an elevated cab, it would seem unwise to head into the middle lane and not give vehicles a chance to move inside to slow down, forcing them to break hard to avoid a rear end collision.
While the van does indicate to move onto the middle lane, it does as described above and makes it hard for vehicles to avoid the sudden stop in lane 3 as evidenced by the swerving BMW (which forces the van back into the left hand lane) and forcing the dash cam driver to try and take evasive action.
The BMW driver
The BMW driver in the video could share some blame, as well as having problems of their own (having cut across the road and collided with the white van). From the beginning of the video we see they are in the right hand lane and even after passing the HGV (before the white van indicates or looks like it is ready to move) it does not slow down, indicate or move into the middle lane. Given that lanes 2 and 3 are only for overtaking and not driving, it would seem they are not adhering to those guidelines.
Once they spot the trouble, they take immediate action and swerve across into the middle lane becoming a hazard and preventing the dash cam driver from having any time or space to react, forcing them into the gap. It could be argued with the way they cut across that the driver was not paying attention ahead. Even at speed they should have noticed that the cars in front were fast approaching from a few hundred yards back.
While it is very easy to say, if all of the players in this drama had changed aspects of their driving during the accident it could all possibly have been avoided. The van giving space could have given the cam car and the BMW space to move over, the BMW seeing the traffic earlier would have alerted the camera car, the van could have left the middle lane free for cars to avoid the fast approaching queue, and the HGV could possibly have been content to continue in the middle lane and not risk a bottleneck.
When on the roads, particularly the motorway, it is important to look after each other. Driving safely avoids collisions, avoids injuries and avoids traffic. While nobody was seriously injured in this instance, not everybody is so lucky.
We have hundreds of cases brought to us each year from car crash victims who haven’t escaped unscathed, often due to other driver’s misjudgements. If you, a family member or a friend have been in that situation and think that legal assistance is required, you can call one of our experts on 01695 722 222. We offer free, impartial, and conscientious advice. Alternatively you can begin a claim form right away on our website and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible to talk about the best options for you.