Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by John Robinson
Check to the right side.
This is the final check you make to ensure that you are well clear of the car or truck you just passed when you slide back into the right lane.
A lot of road accidents happen because drivers are too quick to turn back into the lane. This often happens because they were either too hasty or misjudged a car’s speed coming down from the opposing lane.
How do you pass a car or truck safely?
Passing another car on a two-lane skinny is probably the most dangerous maneuver you will do in your life as a driver. Often the extra couple of minutes you save isn’t worth the risk. But sometimes we’re in a hurry, or there is an emergency at home, and you can’t afford to lose those precious few seconds sitting behind a 20-tonne truck hauling corn. So here is a quick rundown of what to do if you want to pass a car or car.
First, is it legal to pass?
Some roads have No Pass Signs that prevent you from passing; this also includes the solid stripe telling you it is unsafe to give. These signs are there for several reasons, from sharp turns, wildlife, or construction work. If you see these signs, instead wait for them to give you the all-clear before trying to pass the car in front of you.
Is it safe to pass?
A simple enough question. Check the road, and ask yourself, is it safe to pass? Are there cars coming from the front? Can you see far enough to know if there is a car coming? Are you on a sharp turn? Or perhaps reaching a hill? Is there a car currently passing you? If any of these answered yes, instead wait for the all-clear before taking the chance.
It’s all clear, now what?
If the left lane is clear, no signs tell you not to, no cars are coming from the front, and you have a nice long stretch of road, you can proceed to pass by following these steps.
1) Put on your indicator. You need to let others know what you are about to do.
2) Check behind you to make sure no one is attempting to pass you. This includes your blind spot, not just the mirror.
3) Move into the left lane. Don’t yank the steering wheel; take it nice and slow.
4) Speed up by 10-20 miles per hour, and if possible, try not to go over the speed limit.
5) Once you’ve passed the car, make sure you are far enough ahead of them to get into the right lane again safely.
6) If it’s all clear, slide into the right lane. Once again, take it slowly, don’t yank on the steering wheel.
7) Turn off the indicator.
Some elements like the weather, the state of your car, or other factors can prevent you from passing. In snow and rain, it becomes exceedingly more dangerous and should be done with caution. But other things can go wrong.
Sometimes your estimate was just wrong, and the car you thought was stationary is now careening towards you from the left lane. Don’t panic. Just slow the vehicle down and slide back into the right lane. If you panic and slam on the breaks, you’ll be a sitting duck and could get rammed.
Keep in mind that today our roads are much safer than thirty years ago. The paved shoulders, for example, prevent drivers from hitting gravel and yanking their cars back on the ground after and possibly careen into oncoming traffic or even flipping the car. Another safety precaution is passing lanes where you get short stretches on the road to pass safely.
You won’t save much time passing a car or truck; depending on the truck’s speed, it is often not worth the risk. Instead, wait for those passing lanes and go past when it’s safe. Your life is not worth three minutes of saved time.