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Strobe Lights & Law ??

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by drivewaydoctor, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. So in your area whats the deal with who has the right-away when working the plow with the strobe lights going?

    Here is why I ask. I was back dragging snow out of a residential driveway last night when this girl seen me working and decided she wouldn't wait to see if I was going to stop when backing out. Well don't you know I slammed into her pretty good. Her rear bumper was pretty much ripped clean off the car. Funny thing about this is there were two cops sitting on the street a few doors up and watched the whole thing. The girl got out and started freaking on me saying she seen me coming and I was suppose to yield to her. I told her no way, that high intensity strobe light means I am working here and YOU need to yield to me. One of the cops came walking down and the girl freaked at him telling him how I am at fault and should be charged and blah blah blah... The cop told her to calm down and that he watched the whole thing and SHE is in fact at fault and that in York Region (area I was plowing) it is law that traffic must yield to service vehicles like plow drivers, tow truck drivers etc when the strobe lights running. I've always been told this by other plow guys but never heard it from a cop. Is that how it is in your areas too?
  2. jerry b.

    jerry b. Member
    Messages: 49

    That is real interesting story there. I live in Ohio and I wonder what the law is here ??? :confused:
  3. beaver2

    beaver2 Member
    Messages: 62

    Consider your self lucky. It was your fault that you backed into a roadway. In most areas the police would laugh if you said "the strobe lights give me the right of way" I bet she could fight that in court and win.

    I don't have any code to cite, but there is a reason they are called "warning lights"- to make others aware that you are there.

    I wouldn't plan on using lights as an excuse for backing into someone in the future.

    That's cool it worked for you, but I'm on the girls side. (although I would have to actually see what happened to be a fair judge)
  4. murphyslaw

    murphyslaw Senior Member
    Messages: 443

    In Alaska, if you have warning lights on you have the right away. BUT, if you are plowing and back into someone. you will still get a ticket for unsafe backing. however my insurance is written so that if I get into an accident with the lights on it will be seen as them as not my fault.
  5. RAZOR

    RAZOR Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Sorry but I would think it would be your fault if you were backing out from a driveway on to a roadway. Maybe there is another factor like perhaps they felt she could avoid your truck and didn't even thou she had the right-of way so they charged her. What was she charged with?
  6. GreenManEnvy

    GreenManEnvy Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    To the best of my knowledge, the strobe doesn't give you any extra right-of-way. The only laws I've seen (to be fair, the only ones I've looked up) are related to who can run what color of light.

    My guess would be, when backing out in to the street, you would be responsible and she would have the right of way.
  7. USMCMP5811

    USMCMP5811 Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    Dito..... And if I were the cop, I would have cited you for failure to yeild to oncoming traffic when entering a roadway.
  8. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    I know from being a driver for the FD that even running reds and a siren you are ASKING for a right or way.
  9. Jdeerekid

    Jdeerekid Member
    Messages: 44

    In NY that would not give you the right away. You would have gotten a ticket for unsafe backing and not yeilding the right away of the oncoming car. Plus your insurance would have gone way up. I had a buddy of mine back do the same exact thing and he thought the way you did and it was his fault.
  10. RepoMan207

    RepoMan207 PlowSite Fanatic
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,039

    Your fault. Definitely. That sucks, glad your here to talk about it.
  11. SullivanSeptic

    SullivanSeptic PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,422

    Comming from first hand experience, here in Illinois, strobe lights on the raod way are illegal. They are allowed on private property (driveways, parking lots), But they do not give anyone the right of way. Especially backing out of a driveway. No matter what, the car in the street has the right of way. It seems odd that the girl got the ticket. Seems like part of the story is missing. She did nothing wrong.
  12. massfirefighter

    massfirefighter Senior Member
    from mass.
    Messages: 128

    You are one of the (insert profanity here) that feel like you are a snow removal god and everyone must look out because my little yellow strobe light is flashing and I'm gonna back right out in front of you because I have the right of way. The flashing lights mean nothing, they are to make you be seen better and that's it!
    Sorry for the rant but I've been to too many accidents and witnessed myself guys backing right out into traffic while plowing driveways.
  13. JK-Plow

    JK-Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    In Michigan, an emergency vehicle, while having the right of way, still must use do care and caution when the emergency lights are activated. A vehicle working on the roadway may disobey traffic lights and stop signs, generally has the right of way. A private snowplow operator, regardless of having a working light or not, must yeild to vehicles driving on the roadway, as they enter from private property. The only time the private snowplow operator would have the right of way, is if they are plowing the road. Around the metro Detroit area, a number of private snowplows are used as contractors to clear city streets. They have the same right of way as a county snowplow driver. On the private property the snowplow driver would be acting as working on the hightway of the private property, and thus would have the right of way on the private property. But when backing onto the public highway, from private property, the operator has no right of way.
  14. kitn1mcc

    kitn1mcc Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    he is in canada you know how they are up there hell for years ontario ran blue lights on plow
  15. 89smurf

    89smurf Junior Member
    from Sask.
    Messages: 13

    And? What's your point?:confused:
  16. Petetheo

    Petetheo Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    And? What's your point? On top of his head.
  17. CAT MAN

    CAT MAN Member
    from county
    Messages: 47

    To me if you seen her coming and you still backed out its your fault with lights or no lights. like the past few days weve been getting hit with snow pretty good and when im out plowing i leave my light on all the time it dont give me a right away i just want to warn other people of me plowing or salting so they can keep a distance. I think its odd the cop didnt give you a ticket for unsafe backing!!
  18. beans

    beans Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    HTA 62.31
    Flashing blue light on snow-removal equipment

    (31) No person shall, while operating a road service vehicle on a highway, plow, salt or de-ice the highway or apply chemicals or abrasives to the highway for snow or ice control unless the road service vehicle is equipped with a lamp producing intermittent flashes of blue light visible for a distance of 150 metres from all directions. 1996, c. 33, s. 11.

    Deposit of snow on roadway

    181. No person shall deposit snow or ice on a roadway without permission in writing so to do from the Ministry or the road authority responsible for the maintenance of the road. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 181.
  19. Jaspell

    Jaspell Member
    from 06117
    Messages: 61

    I am a lawyer in Connnecticut and just plow for fun. Here, you would be in the wrong. It is illegal to fail to yield the right of way while backing out of a driveway. Doesnt matter if you are plowing or not. I would expect you are going to be hearing from her insurnace company regarding her property damage and if she get's a stiff neck, a lawyer as well...
  20. ondirtymax

    ondirtymax Member
    Messages: 70

    Here in ontario, no matter what type of light you displaying, you are defined as an emergency or service vehicle, in which case motorists must yield to and give right of way to. I'm not saying that gives you free run of the roads, and obviously in this guys case the police who witnessed the accident must have determined the motorist had ample time to yield right of way to the service vehicle (snow plow) and did not! Has nothing to do with being from Canada as one idiot stated, simply the laws that pertain to the area
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008