In this article I am going to show how to make an overtaking manoeuvre, both the safest practical way and the dangerous way.

In this article I will refer continuously to two types of people - the Overtaker and the Overtaken.

I have had many years of driving experience and whilst I have never had any points on my licence I should say I have been truly lucky to get away with a lot of the manoeuvres I have made over the years and continue practicing to this very day.

On a safety note I would like to say that whilst making overtaking manoeuvres is not illegal except where legal signs tell you it is, overtaking is
Overtaking can do the following:
  • It can get you or a member of the public killed.
  • It means speeding which is against the law.
  • Cause you to lose control if factors such as wind or a pothole catch you off guard.

There are several places where you must never overtake in.
  • Places where people are visible.
  • Near or outside schools (I got caught once by an undercover team I thought were hoodlum joyriders).
  • Where there are single or double white lines and the single unbroken white line is on your side.
  • Road bends unless you can see clearly past the vehicle in front.
  • By hills unless you are facing downwards.
  • At roundabouts.

Okay, lets get on with the lesson.
It helps if you feel that your vehicle is like an extension of your body.
The most important thing you can check are your tyre pressures.
I check mine almost every two weeks for daily trips and monthly if all I do are weekend runs.
What I look for?
It says in handbooks that the pressures of the front tyres are different to that of the back.
All my tyres are pumped to the same pressure using personal tyre pumps checked when I haven't used my car for at least two hours and if one is lower than the rest, I know I have a problem.

There are two ways to make overtaking manoeuvres.
The Practical Way
The UnPractical Way.

Naturally it helps if you have a vehicle capable of giving short bursts of speed at moments notice as the element of surprise is a vital factor in making overtaking manoeuvres.
Remember this, there are a lot of selfish drivers out there including YOU, the overtaker and they include crash for cash drivers and drivers who feel it is their right to defend the roads from rogue elements such as you, the overtaker.

The most practical way to conduct an overtaking manoeuvre is to plan ahead.
  • Are there cyclists in front?
  • How likely is a vehicle likely to pull out of a side road?
  • Is the overtaken likely to increase speed?
  • Do you think you can handle the road surface?
  • Do you have an escape plan?
  • Are you prepared to accept defeat at short notice and abandon your manoeuvre?

Mirrors, Signal Manourvre are what I mean.

Use your mirrors to check the following:
  • No police cars behind you.
  • The third car behind you is not matching your speed as this is usually a good indicator of an undercover police car.
  • Motorcycles.
  • Any cars behind you are a decent distance away in case you change your mind.

This lets the driver in front know of your intentions. Not all drivers are bad drivers and I myself do appreciate when another driver lets me know of their intentions. It also warns other drivers coming unexpectedly in the opposite direction that you intended to do what you are doing and that you, the overtaker, have either seen them or expected them to appear.

Pull out quickly and keep your foot on the accelerator until you have passed the vehicle in front.
Use your mirrors to see their headlights then signal that you have seen they are behind you and that you are coming back in.
If you see unexpectedly another vehicle coming towards you, signal back whilst overtaking in the hope of encouraging the overtaken to slow down and check your blind spot to see the back of your vehicle has just gone past the overtaken's front and pull in, quickly.
Signalliing back your intentions to return back into the line of traffic flow also shows you are in complete control of your vehicle and lessens the fears any other motorist around or near you may have of you.

The unpractical way of making an overtaking manoeuvre is to not signal at all and cut back into traffic lane when you think you have made an overtaking manoeuvre.
This is more likely to catch the attention of a nearby police officer whom you may not have seen hiding somewhere on routine patrol duties.

The overtaking manoeuvres described above are for single roads.
You can overtake the unpractical way on dual carriageways and motorways though it is a good idea to keep the mirror signal manoeuvre practice handy and routine to you.

This is just a do's and don't lesson.
I do not condone overtaking as it can be both exhilarating and relaxing.
When done correctly, making overtaking manoeuvres's are truly pleasurable experiences that take away the boredom of regular flying by buildings.

Never overtake if you are carrying passengers.
Their emotional states of minds and expressed concerns may cloud your judgement of what is going on around you on the road.

Article written Easter Sunday 8th April 2012.