Passing another car requires the driver to exercise judgment about distances, speeds, weather conditions and geographic layout of the road. If you do it wrong you can end up in the ditch, causing an accident or worse yet, killing yourself or someone else.

In this crash, according to the news report, we have Deangleo Pirtle, 21 of Cedar Rapids incorrectly exercising that judgment and causing a head-on collision with an oncoming car. The oncoming car is driven by Anny Mescheryakova, 50 of Corallville, Iowa. In the Pirtle car you have Nathan Gourley, 22 who also ended up in the hospital.

We don’t have all the details so at least at this point we can’t judge Pirtle’s action and why the car he drove came across the center line, but let’s assume for the sake of this discussion about negligence that he was passing a car in front of his. The law requires you to pass only when you can do so safely, so you have to exercise due care. Due care is a broadly defined term that requires the driver to assess the situation including all reasonable risks and to pass when the situation allows you to do so without risk of a collision. So, if you look ahead and there is a hill that blocks your view of what is beyond the hill, then according to the laws of negligence you shouldn’t pass.

If before passing it appears that with the speed limit and the distance between you and an oncoming vehicle there won’t be enough time to pass without hitting the other car head-on or someone ending up in the ditch, then you can’t pass. 

Negligence is about fault; failing to do something you’re supposed to do. The big one in this case and probably where everyone will begin their analysis is with Pirtle being over the center line. Why is he there? From there the case of negligence will become clear pretty quickly after the answers begin to show how judgment was exercised.

And in this instance more than likely Anny Mescheryakova and Pirtle’s passenger Nathan Gourley will be filing claims under the Pirtle auto insurance policy.

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