was in issue. Shirks Motor Express asserted in its pretrial statement that proof may be adduced that Gilbert Carriers' tractor-trailer moved from a direct line and thereby contributed proximately to the accident by forcing Winters or Whitehill to lose control of his or her automobile. The pretrial statement of Gilbert Carriers and Frank Pisano also stated that they intended to prove that there was no contact between their tractor-trailer and either of the automobiles and that the tractor-trailer did not cross the white divider line between the slow and fast lanes of traffic. We think the issue was adequately framed by the pretrial statements and that Gilbert Carriers and Pisano were aware of the issue of liability without contact that had to be met.
We next take up the question of whether the evidence was sufficient to warrant the charge on the liability of Gilbert Carriers and Frank Pisano without contact.
One of the primary issues of fact in the case was whether there had been a collision between the Whitehill automobile and the tractor-trailer of Gilbert Carriers. But a negative answer to this inquiry did not necessarily exculpate Gilbert Carriers under the evidence. Certainly the evidence of the veering of the Gilbert Carriers' vehicle toward the left and into the fast lane of traffic when Whitehill was in the process of passing it, and the sounding of its horn, could, if believed by the jury, constitute negligence on the part of Gilbert Carriers and Frank Pisano. The issue then posed for the jury's determination was whether such negligence was a proximate contributing cause of Whitehill's losing control and crossing the medial strip. Ordinarily the question of proximate cause is for the fact-finding tribunal. Landis v. Conestoga Transp. Co., 1944, 349 Pa. 97, 36 A.2d 465. Whitehill testified that upon being crowded by the tractor-trailer, she swung her wheels toward the medial strip and then the impact at the rear (which could have come from the Winters' car) forced her automobile across the strip. Winters stated to the police that the Whitehill car slowed down upon its being crowded, that he put on his brakes which threw his car into the tractor-trailer and then his car hit the Whitehill automobile. With this evidence we think the issue was properly a jury question under the instructions given with respect to proximate cause.
Defendants Gilbert Carriers and Frank Pisano also contend that the evidence did not warrant a charge on sudden emergency as applicable to Ruth Whitehill. They contend that whether a person is confronted with a sudden emergency is necessarily a subjective thing
and that the evidence thereof must be found in the testimony of the person claiming the benefit of such rule, at least where that person has been a witness at the trial. After the jury had been charged generally on the rule of sudden emergency, they were told to consider whether Ruth Whitehill had been confronted by a sudden emergency, and whether it had been created by her own lack of care or by Frank Pisano. From the entire record of the case, we think the evidence warranted such charge. And even applying the narrower rule as contended by Gilbert Carriers, we think evidence of a sudden emergency can be found in Whitehill's own testimony. If, as she stated, her car was crowded by Gilbert Carriers' tractor-trailer while passing it at a speed of approximately fifty-five miles per hour so that 'it seemed to be right on top of me', it cannot be held as a matter of law that she was not confronted with a sudden emergency, especially in the light of her reflex actions in braking and swinging her car toward the medial strip. If this conclusion is correct, the sudden emergency issue was properly submitted to the jury. Further, the evidence of crowding was sufficient for the jury to find that Pisano negligently created the emergency. Also, the evidence that Whitehill in response to the emergency automatically swung her car toward the medial strip and suddenly slowed down in front of Winters, thereby causing him to 'hit' his brake, lose control and collide with the rear of the Whitehill car, was sufficient to find that Pisano's negligence was a proximate contributing cause of the accident.
The motion of Gilbert Carriers and Frank Pisano for a new trial will be denied.