Home   >   Articles   >   Road Rules 2: Do You Practice These Dos and Don’ts of Overtaking?

Road Rules 2: Do You Practice These Dos and Don’ts of Overtaking?

by Lou-Ann Jordan May 13, 2019

Share this

Road safety continues to be a global concern.  International statistics show that while road safety has improved in developed countries, there has been no significant change in the number of road accidents.

According to the World Health Organization road traffic injuries are now the leading cause of death for people five to 29.  Moreover, World Atlas documents that an estimated 3,000 accidents occur daily, around the world.

For the Caribbean region, traffic accidents continue to plague our roads.  In recent times, there has been an increase in road collision reports in our news.  Many of these mashups result from speeding or drunk-driving.  While both of those can be considered the leading causes of accidents, other driving practices can cause us to place ourselves, other drivers, and pedestrians in harm’s way.

In the first part of this series, we examined six basic road safety rules.  As our final instalment, we think it’s prudent to address one driving practice that must be done with much more care—overtaking.

Grab your highway code and let’s discuss some dos and don’ts for overtaking.

The Dos of Overtaking

Do overtake only when it’s safe to do so.  Be sure to leave adequate space between your vehicle and the one you want to pass.

Do move out only after you’ve determined it’s safe.  First, check your side mirrors and blind spot, then signal and proceed.

Do drive quickly past the vehicle you’re overtaking. Ensure you leave enough room to merge back left.

Do give way to oncoming vehicles.  When passing parked motor vehicles or obstructions remember oncoming drivers have the right of way.

Do drop back when attempting to pass larger vehicles.  To avoid having your view obscured fall back as it will allow greater visibility.

Do take better care at night.  Be more cautious at night, and when visibility is poor.

The Don’ts of Overtaking

Don’t attempt to pass a long vehicle, like a truck, simply because the driver ahead of you did.

Don’t overtake at a pedestrian crossing, or when the vehicle ahead of you has stopped to let a pedestrian cross.

Don’t overtake if you are entering an area that divides traffic.

Don’t overtake when the vehicle ahead of you is indicating right.

Don’t overtake when doing so would force another vehicle to swerve or slow down.

Also, remember to never obstruct a vehicle from attempting to pass.  Maintain a steady course and speed or, if necessary, slow down.  If someone overtakes, be sure to maintain a two-second gap so that they can pull in ahead of you.

In addition to practising caution, be courteous. If you’re driving a slow-moving or large vehicle, don’t hold up traffic creating a long queue.  Check your mirrors frequently and carefully guide traffic in passing.

Road safety is everyone’s responsibility.  Conscientious driving benefits you and other motorists on the nation’s roads.  Together we can work to reducing the number of road fatalities.

Let caution and courtesy become your road mantra.

Drive safely.


Sources: The Highway Code, World Health Organization, and World Atlas.