Collision between lane changer and approaching vehicle

Collision between lane changer and approaching vehicle

The facts
The plaintiff collided with another motorist as she was parking out of a parking bay arranged lengthwise - to the right - of the roadway onto a two-lane road. At the time of the collision, the defendant had almost completely changed from the left to the right lane. The van protruded with its left front into the right lane and was moving forward.

Jurisdiction in Germany
The court of first instance partially granted the claim for payment of the repair costs for the plaintiff's vehicle, expert's fees as well as a lump sum for costs based on a liability rate of 50%.

The district court confirmed the division of the damage but reduced the repair costs to be reimbursed to a small extent. The plaintiff had disregarded the special due diligence requirements of § 10 sentence 1 of the German Road Traffic Act (StVO) and the other driver had violated § 7 para. 5 of the German Road Traffic Act (StVO) by changing lanes.

The defendant then appealed. The Federal Court of Justice then found that the defendant was not at fault for contributing to the accident in accordance with Section 7 (5) sentence 1 of the German Road Traffic Act (StVO). Accordingly, a lane may only be changed if there is no danger to other road users. "Other road user" is in principle only a participant in moving traffic, but not the person approaching from the edge of the lane. This is justified by the priority of moving traffic. If the lane changer also has to pay special attention to approaching vehicles, this is no longer guaranteed. The Federal Court of Justice notes, however, that Despite the fundamental priority of moving traffic, the latter must also show consideration for the person entering or approaching within the framework of § 1 StVO and accept a moderate obstruction.

Jurisdiction in Austria
In a similar case, the Supreme Court in Vienna ruled that priority must always be given to moving traffic. The driving manoeuvre must be indicated in good time so that the person coming behind has the opportunity to calmly adjust to the defendant's behaviour and to consider the countermeasures that have become necessary. It must be omitted if there is a mere possibility of endangering or obstructing other road users, whereby an obstruction is particularly present if another road user is forced to brake or swerve.

All in all the decisions agree in essence, and conclude that priority is given to flowing traffic. However, this does not apply without restrictions. The flowing traffic had to accept slight obstructions, so that the plaintiffs might could not claim full compensation for the damage.

Go back