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overtaking safely
3 minute read Guides Learner Drivers

Overtaking Safely

Overtaking can be scary as a learner but do you know how to overtake safely?

by Jemima Lewis

  1. Before overtaking, you need to make sure the road ahead is clear on both sides and there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you wish to overtake.
  2. Only overtake when it’s safe enough to do so. You need to make sure that you look at your mirrors and signal before performing the manoeuvre – this way you are warning other drivers of your intentions.
  3. Move swiftly past the vehicle you are overtaking and allow plenty of room before moving back into the left-hand lane and maintaining a safe speed.
  4. Make sure you give vulnerable road users, such as horses and cyclists, as much room as possible when overtaking.
  5. When overtaking large vehicles (such as lorries), you need to drop back to give yourself more visibility on the road ahead of the vehicle. As it takes longer to pass a larger vehicle, you need to be sure that it’s safe to overtake and that you have enough room to do so.
  6. You should never assume that it’s safe for you to overtake a vehicle directly in front of you just because a car in front of you has done it.

Do not overtake if:

  • You would have to cross or straddle double white lines with a solid line nearest to you.
  • You would have to enter an area designed to divide traffic – you can identify this if it is surrounded by a solid white line.
  • The vehicle is near to a pedestrian crossing – especially when it has stopped to let people cross.
  • You would have to enter a lane reserved for buses, trams, or bicycles during its hours of operation.
  • You have passed a ‘No overtaking’ sign – you can only overtake once you’ve passed a sign cancelling the restriction.
  • You have any doubt that you cannot see far enough ahead; such as when approaching a corner or bend, a hump bridge, or the brow of a hill.
  • You are somewhere where you might come into conflict with other road users, such as;
    • When approaching (or at) a road junction
    • Where the road narrows
    • When approaching a school crossing patrol
    • Between the kerb and a bus or tram when it is at a stop
    • Where traffic is queuing at junctions or roadworks
    • When you would force another road user to swerve or slow down
    • At a level crossing
    • When a road user is indicating, even if you believe the signal should have been cancelled
    • You are following a cyclist approaching a roundabout or junction, and you intend to turn left.


Overall, you need to make sure that you feel confident in overtaking safely so that you can get on the road and enjoy the journey!

Jemima Lewis

Hi I’m Jemima! I'm a new member of the Veygo team! Since passing my driving test I drive everywhere and love the freedom it gives me!

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