Compliance with the distance, interval and rules for passing oncoming traffic as the most important preventive measure for road accidents in the autumn-winter period

Extracts for legal literacy News

The Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic explains drivers the importance of observing the appropriate distance, interval, and rules for passing oncoming traffic when driving vehicles, since violation of established regulations leads to a large number of road accidents, especially in the autumn-winter period.

Thus, clause 1.10 of the Road Traffic Rules of the Donetsk People’s Republic, approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the DPR No. 3-12 of 12.03.2015, (as amended by the Resolutions of the Council of Ministers of the DPR No. 5-12 of 29.03.2017, No. 2-39 of 13.09. 2018, as amended by the Decree of the Government of the DPR of 07.10.2020 No. 64-2, (hereinafter referred to as the DPR RTR), reads as follows.

Safe distance is the distance between the vehicles that are moving in the one lane, and that one that is in front in the same lane, which, in the event of sudden braking or stopping, would allow the driver of the vehicle moving behind to avoid a collision without performing any maneuver.

Safe interval is the distance between the side parts of moving vehicles or between them and other objects, at which road safety is guaranteed.

Clauses 13.1., 13.3. The DPR RTR establishes that the driver, depending on the speed of movement, the road situation, the characteristics of the cargo being transported and the condition of the vehicle, is obliged to maintain a safe distance and a safe interval. When overtaking, outrunning, bypassing an obstacle or oncoming passing, it is necessary to observe a safe interval so as not to create a hazard for road traffic.

It is often possible to observe situations when, while the vehicle is performing “emergency” braking, the vehicle moving behind simply does not have time to properly stop, without making various maneuvers in the form of “overtaking” or “lane change” to avoid a collision, which indicates incorrect estimation of the distance. At the same time, it is not uncommon for a traffic accident to occur due to non-compliance with a safe interval. For example, while driving in urban conditions when the driver is “lane change” (that is, leaving the occupied lane or occupied row while maintaining the original direction of movement, clause 1.10 of the DPR RTR). The consequence of this is damaged side mirrors of the car, doors, and in case of violation of a safe distance can be more serious consequences in the form of the need to carry out expensive repairs of vehicles or the impossibility of their restoration in principle.

In addition, clause 13.2. The DPR RTR regulates that on roads outside settlements, drivers of vehicles whose speed does not exceed 40 km/h are required to maintain such a distance so that overtaking vehicles have the opportunity to freely return to their previously occupied lane.

This requirement does not apply if the driver of a slow-moving vehicle gives warning signals to overtake or detour.

Outside settlements, on two-way roads with two lanes, the driver of a vehicle (a combination of vehicles) with a length of more than 7 m is obliged to maintain such a distance between his vehicle and the vehicle that is moving in front so that vehicles overtaking him can change without interference to the previously occupied them lane. This requirement does not apply when driving on road sections on which overtaking is prohibited, as well as during heavy traffic and movement in an organized convoy.

In connection with the above, ensuring a safe distance for other road users when they perform various kinds of maneuvers is also an inalienable duty of the drivers driving the above vehicles.

In accordance with clause 13.4. DPR RTR, if the oncoming passing is difficult, the driver, in the traffic lane of which there is an obstacle or the dimensions of the vehicle interfere with the oncoming traffic, must give way. On sections of roads marked with signs “Steep ascent” and “Steep descent”, if there is an obstacle, the driver of the vehicle moving downhill must give way.

Implementation of the oncoming passing sometimes does not always take into account the above-indicated signs and other instructions, which is a violation on the part of the drivers, each of whom “intends” to follow the traffic as a matter of priority.

Thus, the choice of distance, interval, observance of rules for passing oncoming traffic can play a decisive role in relation to the risk of an emergency situation in general, as well as determine the further outcome of the development of a road traffic accident, and, accordingly, its consequences.