Vail Daily letter: Dangerous driver | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: Dangerous driver

On Thursday, July 23, at 2:30 p.m. sharp, I drove into the parking lot on the northwest end of Riverwalk in Edwards. As I came around the bend, a man driving a light green Prius began to back out. I stopped and tooted my horn; nicely, I might add. He stopped. Clearly he saw me. So I proceeded. Then, to my horror, he continued backing out of the parking space. At that point I was directly behind him — again, it was clear he saw me — but he continued to back. I hit the accelerator, praying no one would dart out from behind a car, to escape being "T-boned." I safely parked.

My rather irate husband jumped out of the passenger side declaring, "What were you thinking?" At that point, the offending, and offensive, driver began shouting, "I had the right of way! You didn't have the right of way! I had the right of way!" He continued his rant as he drove away.

Although I learned in Thibodaux, Louisiana, over 40 years ago that the backing driver must not proceed until he or she ascertains the way is clear, I thought I'd do a little research just in case the law changed in the five minutes before the incident.

Mr. Light Green Prius, I suggest you read up on how to drive in a parking lot before you hit another car, or worse. A passage from "Fault determination in a parking lot accident" from http://www.insurancehotline.com reads:

"Similarly, anyone who is moving out of a parking space must yield to those who are driving through the lane. Just like a car coming out of a driveway onto a street, vehicles in a parking space do not have right-of-way over those already proceeding."

You clearly saw me, yet you continued to back out of your parking space. Even if you did have the right-of-way, which you didn't, it does not give you the right to proceed when doing so clearly would cause a collision. Accordingly, you might find a review of page 20 of the Colorado Driver's Handbook helpful, specifically this sentence:

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"You must do everything you can to prevent striking a pedestrian or another vehicle, regardless of the circumstances."

You will find this in the second column of page 20 of the handbook:

"Backing: You must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles close enough to be a hazard."

Therefore, in order to avoid a premium increase that you certainly would experience should you continue to believe your interpretation of "right of way in a parking lot," I suggest you cool off, adopt a more civil tone and think before attempting to ram a driver you believe is in the wrong.

Suzanne Hoffman