Some decades ago, I was making a left turn when my car stalled in the intersection. Prior to making the turn, I checked the ongoing lane and gotten an "all clear." That is, as far as I could see, to an underpass 125 feet away.

A car sped through the underpass and hit my car when it was still in the intersection. The driver had maintained speed (25 mph) throughout, and never slowed down for my stalled car until the accident. She was "counting" on me to clear the intersection in time.

Contributory negligence is when the "less guilty" party nevertheless has the "last clear chance" to avoid an accident, and fails to take it. Was the other party guilty of contributory negligence in this case?

  • 2
    Are you sure about those distances and speeds? A car driving at 25 mph travels 25 feet in about 0.68 seconds; and if you pulled out in front of the other driver less than a second before she was going to pass through the intersection, it doesn't seem likely that she had a clear chance to avoid you. Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 15:54
  • @MichaelSeifert: I'm sorry. That should have been "125 feet" away. Fixed.
    – Libra
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


It is up to the jury and judge to decide on a case by case basis. There is enough of an argument that it goes to the jury to decide.

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