Passing a vehicle can be safe–or hazardous. Nova Scotia has specific laws regarding when someone can or can’t pass another vehicle. Even in cases where they’re legally allowed to, there’s advice to follow to ensure passing doesn’t result in a catastrophic accident. Here’s what you need to know.

What Are Nova Scotia’s Laws Regarding Vehicles Passing Other Vehicles?

Nova Scotia has specific requirements for drivers who want to pass other vehicles (and for the drivers of the vehicles being passed).

  • A driver who wants to pass another vehicle must use their turn signal and sound their horn before beginning to pass. That informs the other driver of the first driver’s intention to pass.
  • The driver being passed must not speed up to prevent the other vehicle from passing and must not impede that driver in any way.
  • If someone is driving at night, they must use their low beams until they are safely in front of the other vehicle.
  • On two-lane roads, the passing driver must ensure that the left lane is clear of traffic before passing.
  • Passing on the right of a two-lane road is prohibited.
  • If two vehicles want to pass a third, they must go one at a time, with the second one waiting until the first has safely returned to the right lane.

What Other Ways Can Someone Pass Safely?

These may not be laws, but car accidents caused by careless or illegal passing happen all too often, and sometimes with devastating results. Remember these tips when considering trying to pass another vehicle, especially on two-lane roads.

  • Is it necessary? People think passing helps them arrive sooner, but that’s rarely the case.
  • Look into the passing lane, both behind and ahead of your vehicle, before beginning to pass. If oncoming cars are in the left lane or another car is beginning to pass behind you, wait. Check your blind spot.
  • Drivers are legally allowed to cross a solid line in the road if they can do so safely.
  • Move into the passing lane carefully, and don’t accelerate past the speed limit.
  • Before returning to the right lane, check your blind spot to ensure plenty of room, then signal the lane change before moving.
  • Don’t return to the right lane at night until you can see the other vehicle’s headlights in your rearview mirror.
  • Before passing, keep some distance between your car and the one in front of you. Driving too close to that vehicle can make it harder to see if there are other vehicles you must be aware of in the passing lane.

What Are Some Areas Where Passing is Either Unsafe or Illegal (or Both)?

There are several. Not all of these are illegal in Nova Scotia but opt for the safe choice anytime you’re unsure.

  • When driving up a hill or around a curve where you can’t see at least 150 metres in front of you.
  • Anytime you can’t see several cars’ lengths into the passing lane.
  • Don’t pass a vehicle that’s stopped for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
  • Don’t pass at marked intersections in rural areas.
  • Don’t pass in intersections in cities or at railroad crossings.

On highways with four or more lanes, don’t use the left lane for long-term driving or the right lane for passing. The furthest left lane should be used strictly for passing, with the driver passing and returning to one of the right lanes when the pass is completed. If a driver is driving slowly in the left lane and someone tries to pass on the right, the possibility of an accident is higher.

How Is Fault Determined for an Accident in Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia’s contributory negligence laws say that all drivers in an accident will be investigated for fault. If both (or more, if multiple) drivers have some fault, they’ll be assessed a percentage of that fault.

If someone claims damages, the amount they receive will be reduced by the percentage they were at fault. Cases like these could benefit from working with an experienced car accident lawyer.

What Should I Do if I’m in an Accident While Passing or Being Passed in Nova Scotia?

Try to get the names and contact information of anyone involved in the accident (but don’t discuss it with them–see below). Then, contact the police to file a report. Nova Scotia law requires police reports to be filed if an accident causes injuries or more than $2,000 in property damage. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if there are injuries or significant property damage, so it’s best to get the police record just in case.

Next, see a doctor as soon as possible. Just because you feel fine doesn’t mean you might not be injured; some injuries don’t manifest symptoms immediately. Left untreated, they can worsen and become dangerous.

Then, call NOVA Injury Law at 902-706-5205 to schedule a free case review. Our team of experienced, knowledgeable car accident lawyers can help develop a case to get the best possible outcomes for your situation.

As mentioned above, don’t have conversations with anyone in the other parties in the accident beyond sharing contact and insurance information. The same goes for their insurance representatives or lawyers. They aim to have as much fault for the accident assigned to you as possible to avoid paying out much, if any, in damages. They might also present a much lower settlement offer than you might be eligible for. Don’t engage with them; just forward their communications to your lawyer.