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OVertaking - a way to die

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

OVertaking - a way to die

Tim HillerbyMorgan
December 15, 2009

Tim HillerbyMorgan

Imagine this scene.

You are driving along a country road. It is a bright day with a couple of cars ahead of you. You are doing 60 and closing on the cars ahead. Do you overtake them?

Overtaking is one of the most dangerous manoeuvres a driver can make. You are deliberately driving on the wrong side of the road towards oncoming traffic. It is vital that you know how to overtake safely.

When to overtake

Before you can think about how to overtake, you need to know when to overtake. Learner drivers in the UK are taught one of the best ways of deciding when to overtake. Their driving instructors teach them NSL. Necessary Safe and Legal. The overtake must be necessary. Have you ever seen a driver overtake you on a dual carriageway and leave at the next exit? You should only overtake when you need to maintain progress. There is no point overtaking if you are about to turn left. It must be safe to make the overtake. Can you complete the overtake without affecting any other drivers? Are you going to put yourself in danger? An overtake is only safe when you have enough space to return to and enough time to return. Have a plan B. What if the situation changes suddenly.

Is it legal to overtake. Solid white lines may be frustrating, but they are there for a reason. Would the highways waste£ 9 a metre on paint. Illegal, silly and all to common overtakes include: on solid white lines, entering an operational bus lane, overtaking on a pedestrian crossing, overtaking at excess speed.

How to Overtake

Once you realise that you may need to overtake carry out the NSL checks. Assume that the overtake is safe. Position the car so that you can keep checking that it is safe to overtake. Check your mirrors and give the appropriate signal. Check your mirrors again and move to the right of your lane. Keep checking that it is safe to overtake Check your mirrors and increase your speed. If it is still safe make the overtake. Do not hang about. Get past the car as quickly as you safely can. Check your mirrors and move back to the left as soon as it is safe.

Overtaking is dangerous

Think about the combined speeds. If your car and the other car are both doing 60, the combined speed is 120. You must be aware of the cars behind you - they might be about to overtake. The car in front might turn right. It might not signal to turn right. It is your job to look for the clues. The driver might turn their head. The car might slow down or move to the right. If you are lucky, they might be turning at a junction you missed. You must be especially careful if you overtake on a three-lane road. Cars travelling in either direction can use the middle lane to overtake. Avoid overtaking on the left. You can overtake on the left if the other car is turning right, or traffic on the right is moving slowly or in a one-way street.

The Drivers Ed Company manage the BTEC in Driving Skills. This combines the work of driving instructors, driving schools and learner drivers. The online course runs alongside driving lessons to form a powerful driver training aid. This course will improve pass rates and reduce deaths on the roads.

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