Overtaking a Car Tutorial

Overtaking is an essential driving skill. If as a driver you lack the confidence to overtake, in situations where it would be safe to do so, you can cause long queues of slow-moving traffic to build up, causing congestion and frustration among your fellow drivers.

However, overtaking is also one of the most potentially dangerous driving manoeuvres you can undertake, so every overtaking manoeuvre you do undertake requires careful judgment and a full assessment of the risks involved. Remember the golden rule:


Safe Overtaking

Before overtaking another vehicle you should always ask yourself 'do you need to overtake'. Reasons why it may not be necessary to overtake include:

If you decide to go ahead with the overtaking manoeuvre you must make sure it is safe to do so - can you see far enough ahead to make sure you have time to pull out, overtake and pull back in, safely? Also:

Never Overtake:

Overtaking Large Vehicles

Overtaking a large vehicle such as a lorry or bus needs extra care and attention. Larger vehicles can obscure the view to the front of your car more and so overtaking can be more difficult. Follows these guidelines.

Being Overtaken

If another driver wants to overtake you, then let them. Never try and prevent a driver from overtaking by speeding up or blocking the lane by positioning your vehicle to the right of the lane.

Overtaking On The Left

As a rule you will overtake on the right however there are a few occasions when you can overtake on the left.

Overtaking At Night

Extra care is always needed when overtaking at night. Visibility is reduced, even in areas with street lighting, and it is harder to judge speed and distance. Due to the lack of visibility bends and dips in the road may be hard to see.

If you do overtake another vehicle, once you have drawn level with the vehicle you are overtaking, if no other vehicle is ahead of you, switch your headlights to full beam.

If a driver overtakes you at night and you have your headlights switched to full beam, then keep them on full beam until the overtaking vehicle is level with you. The extra light will help them overtake you safely. Once they pull past you turn your headlights to dip.

Cyclists and Motorcyclists

Overtaking Horses

Pass a horse slowly and allow plenty of room. Never rev your engine or sound your horn. If there is no room to overtake, be patient and wait.

Overtaking aloowed

Broken White Line You can cross to overtake

No Overtaking Solid White Line

Solid White Line Do Not Cross To Overtake

No Overtaking Road sign

No Overtaking

Next - Traffic Lights