Overtaking on Driving test

Here is an important tip about overtaking during the driving test. If the opportunity arises, and it is safe to do so, you will be expectd to overtake stationary or parked vehicles, so while on your driving lessons, you need to start practising this important skill that might be called upon and needs to be demonstrated to the DSA driving examiner.

The reason many learner drivers get stuck behind buses or vehicles that stop regularly is that they fail to plan and anticipate the action of the traffic ahead of them, and therefore at the last momement are flicking on their indicators to overtake or just wait behind the obstacle while other vehciles are going by.

The Overtaking Manoeuvre

The key to mastering any driving skill is understanding the basics, and then practising the skill until you are confident in doing it by yourself (the independent stage of the driver's record), and overtaking is no different.
First you need to identify a potential overtaking situation (am I following a public transport bus, a coucil dustbin cart, approaching a narrow portion of the road with cars parked on the left?), check your interior and right hand mirror, look down the road you are driving on, and if it is safe move your car position to the right a little to give you a clearer view of the road ahead (note that a signal is not required, your car position immediately informs those behind you that there is an obstacle that you are about to overtake it), and if safe you can continue with the manoeuvre passing the obstacle while keeping a lookout especially for junctions or any other road users that might not see you coming.

Things you shouldn't do when overtaking

Don't break the speed limit.
Don't overtake on the approach to pedestrian crossings.
Don't follow the leader! You must make sure that it is safe for you to carry out the manoeuvre, causing oncoming cars to slow down for you is a big NO NO.
Don't overtake when the road markings indicate it is not safe, or you can't see clearly ahead (there is a bend in the road for example).

Overtaking on a Dual Carriageway

You must indicate everytime you change lanes to overtake a vehilcle while driving on a dual carriageway, even if you only cross the lane lines for a small distance.
You still need to obey speed limits on dual carriageways.
Take extra care when moving into the middle lane of a 3 lane dual carriageway.

I have only mentioned the basics of overtaking, you need to make sure that you practise and practice with your driving instructor until you are totally confident with the various scenarios that could occur during the driving test. Don't get into the habit of always using your indicators when overtaking, yesterday I had a new learner driver (previous test experience, but hadn't driven for a year) who indicated to overtake a vehicle close to a junction, and the car following us was confused by the signal and wasn't sure if we were turning right or following the road ahead. This confusion could have been easily avoided if my learner had positioned the car early to overtake and not use the indicators. You don't want that happening on the practical driving test with a DSA examiner in the car.

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