To try and attempt to write an article on the subject of overtaking in a highway or expressway is not an easy matter. That’s the reason why this article is so late in being written.
Although difficult it might seem, this article is very important to drivers, especially to those traveling along our highways and expressways. It therefore has to be penned.
Experts on the subject of overtaking frequently recommend the necessity to adopt some 10 steps which a driver has to follow while doing this maneuver.
Before attempting to overtake the vehicle in front of you, first ensure that car you’re driving has the power. That’s why bigger c.c. cars are chosen by those who travel outstation more, compared to small models like the Kancil for an example.
1. Following behind the car in front
The first step is to follow the car in front of you a safe distance behind. Ideally 100 meters seems to be a safe suggestion.
2. Ensure there are no oncoming vehicles in front
Look ahead some 100 meters or more. Only when you’re sure that there are no vehicles coming ahead of you, can you then decide to overtake. Therefore at corners, you should not try to overtake.
Even when you see a motorcycle coming ahead, you should not attempt to overtake, what more a petrol tanker approaching fast. Remember also, that it takes about 10 seconds to complete a full procedure of overtaking a vehicle.
3. The necessity to look behind
Looking behind is extremely important. There might be a car or cars attempting to overtake you. In such instances, delay your attempt overtaking the car in front of you. Here, your rear mirror and your right side mirror play an important role.
4. Showing your intention to overtake (putting on signals)
Your right hand side mirror should ideally blink for 3 seconds, followed then by your moving out from the left lane into the right lane slowly.
5. Moving to the right lane
Ensure you have enough space to move comfortably from the left lane to the right lane. Observe your rear mirror and your right hand side mirror while doing so.
6. Increasing speed, change 3rd third gear
In moving to the right lane, a driver is recommended to engage 3rd gear, which not only has to speed or power to accelerate the car forward fast, but at the same time takes a shorter span of time to complete the procedure of overtaking. Depending on the car your overtaking on the left, remember the procedure of overtaking may take up to a full 10 seconds to complete.
Permit me to provide you some advice.
Should you see a tanker, a car, or a lorry approaching on the right lane in front of you, this represents danger. You must now decide whether to proceed with the overtaking procedure or abort the attempt to overtake.
My advice is, in overtaking, to not take risks. Sensing the inability to overtake safely, a good driver should decide not to overtake. Fall back, meaning reduce speed and go back to your original left lane and tailgate the car in front of you.
Wait for another chance to attempt overtaking at some other moment. However, should you be stubborn, and choose to proceed with your overtaking procedures in spite of the danger approaching you, you may most likely end up in a collision or accident.
7. Communicate with the vehicle you are overtaking
Assume that all goes well. You are now on the right lane, about to overtake the car beside you. Drawing aside it, and at a point abreast with it, let the driver know by horning once or flashing your headlights. This method is frequently practiced by taxi drivers who are assumed to be good drivers considering the number of hours they spend on the road.
8. Signaling left to come into the left
Having overtaken the vehicle in front of you, move forward in certain safe distance, looking at your rear mirror, engage your indicators to your left for a minimum of 3 seconds, and gradually enter the left lane.
9. Moving towards the left lane
Before you attempt to move into the left lane, check that you are able to see front portion of the car you just overtook. This means you are now safely in the proper lane.
10. Continue your journey
Continue your journey, making sure you adopt the 2 second rule in following the cars in front.
Follow the 10 recommended steps in your endeavor to overtake other vehicles along our highways and expressways.
Trailers, which are meant to carry heavy goods have to follow strict rules imposed by the authorities. On the highways, trailers have to travel on the inner lane.
Trailers being huge are considered being dangerous and should not be speeding on the highways. Overtaking other smaller vehicles is not encouraged as it is considered dangerous.
Should a trailer sustain a tyre puncture on the middle or outer lane o the busy highway, can you imagine the traffic jam it would cause.
Because of this, the authorities are frequently on the look out for trailer drivers who flout the law of not following the inner lane rule.
But many drivers and motorists do not really understand why the authorities impose such a ruling upon trailer drivers. When crossing a toll booth, in reality, it is the last toll booth collection that can accommodate a trailer going through.
It has no overhead obstruction bars above, thus facilitating a trailer easily going though collection points. So, therefore now you know why authorities insist trailers travel only on the inner lanes, especially on highways.
Before proceeding any further, first of all, know that trailers have a maximum speed limit of 80 km/j. Maximum speed for cars is 110 km/j on federal highways and 90 km/j along state roads.
Earlier in this article, mention has already been made with regards to the problem of the tyre punctures and mechanical problems a trailer might face on the highway.
Should a trailer inevidently face a problem such as tyre puncture, the best location for such a large vehicle to stop on the highway is actually the inner lanes of the highway.
Changing tyres will obviously take ample time. This would definitely incur massive jams. Not forgetting also the dangers it might cause to other motorists as well.
At night, the situation becomes even worse. Should there be no Plus Highway teams to assist the trailers over tyre punctures, the problem would be insurmountable.
But leaving aside problems faced by trailer drivers such as tyre punctures and mechanical problems, the main reason why trailer drivers should make it a point to travel only on the innermost lane is probably this.
Due to the country’s unusual terrain, where hills and mountainous terrain sometimes dominate, toll booths at times are built at the bottom of a descending hill.
The authorities have discovered, the long stretch of road leading towards a toll booth is just right to accommodate a large number of vehicles and traffic for the purpose of toll collection.
Herein lies the danger!
Trailers, going downhill towards a toll collection booth, sometimes do sustain brake failure, ending in dire consequences.
To date, fortunately, no unforeseen traffic accidents in such situations have yet to be reported.
I have full confidence of our trailer drivers in handing those huge trailers they drive. They know while approaching a toll booth, they have to decrease speed to 60 km/j.
But then, accidents can happen. Brake failure can take place.
The Public Works Department engineers have in fact built “special areas”, a few hundred meters on the left side of the highway adjoining the toll booth. This is known as the “sand pit”.
Made mostly of small stones, uneven gravel and rocks, this area allows the trailer driver, stricken with brake failure, to drive into such areas, which would hopefully assist the driver to slow down his speeding, runaway trailer and eventually bring it to a halt safely.
To all trailer drivers, some of whom may or may not realize the above “sand pit” exists in our country, it is no harm learning about it now. Better late than never, they say.
Many motorist are unaware regarding “chevron”. As to whether it’s a French or Latin word is uncertain. But it’s function is to “channel” traffic flow, especially in town areas, as we ascend bridges and “flyovers” or “overhead bridges”. Even along major highways.
I remember quite vividly, a friend, while speeding away out of Batang Kali town, being surpringsingly “flagged” down by a traffic police. The driver, being a “P” driver obviously was unaware why he was stopped.
He had in fact driven across a Chevron area!
Turning to me, sitting next to him, he enquired, “Did I do anything wrong?”
Being a “penceramah” or lecturer for the Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu (K.P.P.) course or the Highway Code lecture for over 40 years now, my answer was definitely “Yes”.
You see, my friend had encroached into a “chevron” area, intended to channel traffic flow. And to make the story short, it is an offense!
Many drivers do not know this. Except me of course.
How my friend and me managed to wriggle out of the above situation, is best not to be divulged here. As the saying goes, “somethings are better left untold”.
Now you might want to know what are chevrons for exactly. First as explained earlier, to channel traffic flow. Second, these designated areas are for “broken down” vehicles.
Traffic police and wardens can push such vehicles into these areas so as to avoid traffic congestion or jams.
Do you get it? Hopefully so!
In short, chevrons are actually some form of jam avoiding device, so important to traffic police nowadays.
Besides, chevron areas which you are advised to stay clear off, as a driver you are also advised to not park your vehicles in certain areas too.
Park you vehicles 3 meters from a hydrant. Likewise, a bus stops too, 9 meters away.
Junctions and corners too are dangerous. Park 9 meters away also. Double lines and single straight white lines are also out of your domain.
And finally the notorious Yellow line painted 12 inches from the road shoulder also denotes “No Parking”, just in case you are unaware.
So much for chevron and other no parking places you ought to know.
Finally, why were my friends and me speeding away out of Batang Kali town when stopped by the traffic police? Well, we were heading towards the Genting Highlands holiday resort.
The police warden at the chevron area won. He caught us committing a traffic offence, didn’t he? So, all drivers beware, Do not do what we did!