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Many of us have traveled on a busy highway and seen a car driver stopped in traffic waving a motorist into the highway even though several lanes may still be moving. Well, if you happen to wave a motorist affirmatively indicating that they should enter a highway, and then a major collision results, you could be held responsible for a part of the injury damages, at least in the State of New Jersey which has a specific motor vehicle regulation on this point. Even with a regulation, a car driver waving someone into traffic, which contributes to cause an injury, may be held civilly liable.

In a recent case, a truck driver waved a car driver into traffic just before it collided with a motorcyclist. That trucker was ordered to pay half of the $1.5 million in damages which was awarded in favor of the motorcycle operator who suffered serious injuries in the resulting collision. In the case in question there was a June 2006 crash where the truck driver waved into the highway another motor vehicle driver who was in a donut store parking lot. As the car driver crossed the highway his car collided with a motorcycle operator who then sustained a concussion, cracked five teeth and also suffered a permanent injury to his arm. Later the trucker denied he waved the car operator into traffic but the police officer had recorded a note that he had been told by the trucker that he had done so. Importantly, New Jersey has a state law which specifies that drivers may be held liable if they negligently wave others into the highway.

I have personally seen lanes stopped in both Norfolk or Virginia Beach, and crawled up to an area, and seen a driver vigorously waving another driver into the highway. Before you ever wave a driver into traffic or a highway, you ought to think twice and let them make the decision on their own. Particularly, if you are in one lane of traffic and there are other lanes of traffic that may not realize the driver will cut into their lane, waving a person through traffic is not a good idea, and may incur civil liability on a car driver.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm is based in Virginia (VA), near the NE North Carolina (NC) border and handles car,truck,railroad, and medical negligence cases and more. Our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono public information service. Lawyers licensed in: VA, NC, SC, WV, DC, KY.



  1. Gravatar for Dale

    I have lost count the times in 20 years of driving truck that other motorists have "waved me through". My response is to sit until traffic clears. The occasional big eyed what do I do driver looking at me as if I should say it's okay for them to go get the same stoic look. It's far better to wait.

  2. Gravatar for Ray Cruddas
    Ray Cruddas

    WAIT - When I wave so the person knows that is okay to pull out in front of me but he pulls out across the lane I am in and into another lane causing a crash, I am at fault? WOW! personal un-responsibility sunk to yet ANOTHER all time low.

    UMMMMMM, just a thought, but wasn't that HIS responsibility to see if the OTHER lanes are clear, not mine?

    OR better yet, we arrive at a stop sign directly across from each other at the same time AND since he has no directional showing, I give him the right of way.He then turns left across my lane and gets hit, I AM 50% AT FAULT. WACKY illogical thought process you have Mr. Barrister.

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