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What is a Waving Accident?

Avoid crashes caused by a "waving accident”.

One of the ways people can be seriously injured in a truck accident is by an event commonly known in the commercial vehicle industry as a "waving accident.” Unfortunately, waving accidents are fairly common even though they are entirely preventable. In a waving accident, one of the drivers involved waves to another driver or a pedestrian to indicate that the roadway or an intersection is clear even though it is not. This simple gesture often leads to a completely preventable crash with serious injuries.

If you've been driving for any length of time, you've probably been in a situation where you cannot tell if the intersection or lane you want to enter is clear and another driver waves at you to let you know it is safe for you to go ahead. People that wave pedestrians or other drivers into the roadway or an intersection don’t always check the roadway or blind spots before they wave, and preventable crashes often happen as a result.

Who is at fault in a "waving accident”?

If you waved another driver into the roadway, and a serious car accident or truck accident occurred, can you be held liable? Yes, you may be held liable. It is helpful to remember that every driver is responsible for making safe decisions, which includes being certain that the road in front of them is safe and clear of traffic, but you may become liable if you wave someone into an intersection, a lane, or the roadway. In Michigan, for example, the waving driver may be held responsible for accidents that occur after waving a pedestrian or another car or truck into a lane, an intersection, or the road.

While it may not sound reasonable to hold someone responsible when their vehicle wasn't even damaged in the crash, courts have found that if a driver indicates to another driver or pedestrian that it is safe to proceed, then the “waving driver" is assuming responsibility for their action and the safety of the other driver or pedestrian that saw the "wave" and drove or walked into the intersection. The problem with waving someone into an intersection or a lane is that you might not see a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or another vehicle, and your inability to see everything that should be seen may cause a very dangerous situation when you give someone a wave to suggest it is safe for them to proceed when it is not. This is exactly why many trucking companies train their professional truck drivers not to wave or signal someone into an intersection.

Should I ignore a wave from another driver, or should I trust them and proceed?

If another driver waves you into an intersection, a lane, or a road, you should always patiently “wait and see" instead of assuming the wave from the other driver means it is safe for you to proceed.


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