With the holiday season upon us many people will be taking some well-earned leave, packing up the family car and hitting the road for a trip to the sea to soak up some UV. As with any other holiday period, the roads will be busier than normal and populated with motorists of varying levels of ability and adherence to accepted road etiquette. In addition, there are those who are mentally already on holidays, are very relaxed and have all day to get there, then there are those whose driving suggests they’d prefer a sudden and traumatic death to a week at the beach, and a whole bunch of others scattered somewhere between those two extremes.
On multi-lane freeways, overtaking is much easier and considerably safer, but many journeys will require at least some use of single-lane highways and roads where overtaking requires considerably more skill and care. Overtaking is a concept that some simply fail to grasp, but even for those that do understand it, it is a manoeuvre that can quickly turn bad and be extremely unforgiving if you misjudge it.
As you head off on your Christmas holidays, and any other time actually, here are the top five DON’TS of overtaking:
Don’t overtake where it is not safe_
That seems obvious enough, but apparently not to all. Online dashcam forums are awash with examples of drivers overtaking over unbroken lines, on blind corners or crests, or when there is clearly insufficient time and space. It makes for great viewing, but the consequences are often far more serious and far reaching than these little video snippets portray. Before pulling out into the passing lane, make sure you’ve got good visibility of the road ahead and sufficient space to complete your manoeuvre safely and legally. If you are not used to highway travelling, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the gap between you and any oncoming cars closes.
Don’t pull in too close_
Give the car you’ve overtaken a little room – exactly how much room depends on the particular circumstances, but the car you’ve overtaken should not have to take evasive action to avoid you, nor should they have to buff your paint off their front bumper. Pulling in too close places both you and the vehicle behind at risk of collision. Remember, they need braking distance too. On unsealed roads where you are likely churning up an impressive exhibition of dust and stones, you’ll need to leave more room.
Leave more room on unsealed roads so you don't blind the person behind you, or shower them with stones
Don’t speed up while being overtaken_
This little tactic seems to be increasingly common. It is not only illegal, but also extremely dangerous. If you are being overtaken, don't take it personally as an expression of your inadequacy, let them pass safely. If your concentration is waning resulting in your speed doing the same, this not the time to accelerate back to speed and maybe it’s indication that it is actually time to slow right down, pull off somewhere safe and take a break.
Don’t slow down after overtaking_
There are few things more annoying to other drivers. If you are travelling faster than another vehicle, overtake it when safe to do so and maintain speed. There’s little point in getting ahead simply to slow down again. If you are that prone to daydreaming, simply drop in behind someone else and follow their lead. Also, if you are about to make a turn up ahead, it really is poor form to overtake other vehicles before making the turn. It seems obvious, but evidently, not to everyone.
Don’t be a lane hog_
If someone does get it wrong and executes a poorly planned overtaking manoeuvre, don’t ‘freeze them out’ of the line of traffic. Make some room and let them in. Even if you don’t care for them and their careless antics, do it for the sake of the other innocent people who might be affected.
Having survived the perilous journey to your destination, you’ll be able to kick back at the beach and reward yourself with a cleansing ale.