Passing on the Left

Passing Permitted SignAccording to Tuning Up For Drivers on page 102, passing other vehicles is a manoeuvre that should be used sparingly. If you’re behind a vehicle that’s going well below the speed limit, you may want to pass. But if it’s not very far to where you plan to turn off, then passing may not be smart.

passing on the left

The First Question to ask Yourself

Do I really need to pass that vehicle ahead of me? It might be wiser to stay where you are until a better opportunity to pass presents itself.

It Must be Safe to Pass

A quick check of the Motor Vehicle Act finds section 159. It simply states that a driver of a vehicle must not drive to the left side of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the driver can do so in safety. Of course, this means everyone's safety, not just that of the driver doing the passing.

Having a Clear View

Section 160 requires that a driver of a vehicle must not drive to or on the left side of the roadway, other than on a one way highway, unless the driver has a clear view of the roadway for a safe distance, having regard for all the circumstances.

Do you consider anything other than whether the oncoming lane is empty or not? Intersections and driveways could be the source of trouble as the drivers turning right from them tend to look to their left for conflicting traffic.

The road ahead is straight, but it may not be flat. Vertical view obstructions, a dip in the road, can temporarilty hide and oncoming car completely.

Do the Lines Allow Passing?

Now we have to consider section 151 which tells us how to proceed depending on the lines painted on the road at the point where we wish to pass. Each solid or broken line, or combination of the two may permit or forbid passing on the left according to the type and color of the marking.

Here's more information on the subject of lines.

Safe Distances

Once we have decided it is safe, we can see sufficiently far, and the lines permit the movement, section 158 now says that a driver must cause the vehicle to pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance, and must not cause or permit the vehicle to return to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.

Remember the Two Second Rule? Don't tailgate prior to passing and when you move back to the right, don't force the driver behind you into a tailgating situation.

Tell Everyone What You Intend to Do

Before we move to start or complete the pass, we must return to section 151 which requires us to make the appropriate signal when we move from one lane to another.

Speeding to Pass

Finally, section 146 prohibits us from exceeding the speed limit in order to pass. If you must speed in order to pass the vehicle in front of you it may be that you have chosen the wrong place to do it or that you don't need to pass at all.

The pedal of choice to react to an unexpected situation could be the brake, not the accelerator.

The number of drivers who have passed me on a double yellow, curve or hill is astronomical.  All these rules are wonderful if they are executed as intended, but such is not the case.  

I learnt how dangerous it is to pass while on a few occasions the vehicle passing was unaware of the vehicle(S) exiting a driveway or side street straight into the path of the passing vehicle, they could not see these potential hazards because their view was blocked by the vehicle they were trying to pass.

I rarely pass other vehicles, but I do get annoyed and impatient when they are travelling much slower or inconsistently with the traffic and have plenty of opportunity to pull to the side and let others pass, safely.  The courtesy of impeding vehicles to pull over, when safe to do so, has been lost in the pass of entitlement.  

In the snow some 12 inch deep and hard packed driving takes care and when some idiot shot past us in an Suv to over take artic and trailer

I watched in disbelief as he over took just 12 feet then spun across road down banking onto it side . A chap around 50 climbed out and phone in hand may have phoned garage help. The truck carried on unaware Id say.

I waited but police soon arrived so I drove on to town 30 miles off safely high gear low revs in ice parts got me there and home. The sUV still on its side no sign of life so left it there.

Next evening cranes arrived to haul it straight .I noticed just how big and wide the tyres are on those suv cars. No wonder it could not stick to the road . I blame also the makers of such bread vans they call SUV as a bicycle has more change of cutting through snow than most of the Suvs I have seen .

The cause was the driver yes but manufacturer placed the tyres on that new car .The cost of repair may be as much as he paid to buy that suv in first place.

I hope police fined him as road is a mess on other side of road he span off on.

I came over it gingerly on way home I can tell you .

One born every minute my dear dad used to say and who right he was I find at times like this Suv was Honda biggest vehicle made model in black