When To And When Not To Overtake A Vehicle?

Overtaking is an act of getting ahead of the vehicle in front of you in the same lane. Overtaking is a common occurrence on roads. Sometimes drivers have an emergency that they didn’t expect beforehand. Other times, the vehicle ahead of them could be moving really slow; for instance, a bicycle moves obviously slower than a car on the road. If someone were to allow the cyclist to stay ahead of them, they would have to slow down and lose their precious time. Likewise, some impatient drivers unnecessarily overtake other vehicles to satisfy their ego. Their careless act can cause accidents and can even take lives. Some may mistime or may not see the oncoming vehicle while trying to overtake a vehicle. Ultimately, it all comes down to their knowledge regarding when to and when not to overtake a vehicle. Let us become responsible and get a basic idea of when to and when not to overtake a vehicle.

What you should do when trying to overtake

Take a good look around your surroundings and be sure there is enough space for you to overtake. Make sure that you can safely get back to your current position if needed. You also need to check your rearview mirrors and blind spots to see if any other vehicles are trying to overtake you or switch lanes. Once you are sure about the safety, turn on the overtake signals and overtake the vehicles. Overtake signals will let other drivers around you know your intentions. They will avoid switching lanes or overtaking until you’re done. Accelerate faster than the vehicle that you are about to overtake while maintaining a safe distance. Keep a mental note of how fast the other vehicle is traveling and adjust accordingly to avoid a collision. You might think that smaller vehicles like bicycles and motorcycles would not need as much space, but it’s still wise to treat them like any other vehicles when overtaking. It will help if you are extra cautious while overtaking at night. Poor visibility conditions can distort your perception of speed and distance. Reckless overtaking endangers your and other people’s lives as well.

When you should not overtake

There is the limited opportunity of overtaking on busier roads, intersections and high traffic areas. Avoid overtaking if you can’t see the road ahead or if the oncoming traffic is within a range of around 100 meters. If you have limited vision due to obstacles, poor weather conditions or turning on the road, avoid overtaking a vehicle. It is dangerous to overtake on bridges and roads that narrow down. Most regions restrict overtaking near pedestrian crossings because it can endanger their lives.

It’s important to see what regulations your region or state has in place against overtaking. Some places have strict regulations that don’t allow overtaking to minimize the chances of road accidents. Certain heavy vehicles like trucks are not allowed to overtake any other vehicle. This is due to their massive size that can take up a lot of space. Trucks overtaking smaller vehicles would cause a lot of obstruction on the road and cause traffic jams. Likewise, overtaking trucks can be harder since you have to cover more distance. If trucks need to take a turn, it’s recommended to maintain a safe distance. There are also speed limits in place to follow while overtaking. Different countries have different road signs to show that overtaking is disallowed, so be sure to look at your country’s law.

What to do when being overtaken

It is in everyone’s best interests to allow the other vehicle to overtake you as long as it is safe. If you see a vehicle attempting to overtake you, stay in place and stick to your lane to give it enough space. Meanwhile, also maintain your current speed and refrain from accelerating harder. You can also consider slightly slowing down so the vehicle can overtake you faster. Any sudden movements like change in speed or intentionally blocking them makes things dangerous for everyone involved. There is no need to be upset about someone trying to overtake. If overtaking in the current situation seems dangerous, you can alert them by honking your car horn or using other hand signals.

Ultimately, overtaking is all about patience. If you wait long enough, chances are you’ll see an opportunity to overtake unless you’re driving in high traffic areas. But even then, overtaking and saving a few minutes is not worth risking everyone’s safety. Even in emergency cases, overtaking may not be worthy since you might be under added pressure and overlook simple things that can cause accidents.  You should avoid overtaking whenever possible and only do it if you absolutely need to and can do it safely.