10 Tips On Car Overtaking That May Save Your Life

Amongst the many maneuvers a driver has to perform, overtaking seems to be obviously the most dangerous.

There are in fact 10 procedures, a motorist has to follow in order to overtake another vehicle.

Hopefully, with the following advice, you will in future be able to perform this maneuver well and safely.

Basically, the 10 steps are:

i) Following behind the car in front a safe distance.

ii) Observing the area in front of you.

iii) Observing what’s behind you.

iv) Giving signals to the right.

v) Moving to the right.

vi) Speeding up your car.

vii) Communicate with the car you’re overtaking.

viii) Giving signals to the left.

ix) Moving to the left.

x) Continuing with your journey after overtaking.

The above 10 important steps will assist you to overtake another vehicle safely and especially when you’re on an expressway or lebuhraya.

And now, permit me to explain thoroughly and in detail how each and every step given is supposed to be done.

1) Following behind the car in front at a safe distance.

Ideally, you should follow a safe distance behind.

Use the 2 seconds rule wherever possible.

2) Observing the area in front of you.

To do this, you are advised to adopt the 12 seconds rule at all times.

Look ahead, scan far ahead in front of you.

Ensure there are no vehicles approaching ahead of you.

A driver is advised never to take risks.

No overtaking is suggested should you observe a motorcycle or another vehicle approaching ahead of you.

In short, the maxim is simply this.

In Bahasa Malaysia, this means. “Jangan menguji nasib.”

In colloquial English, it literally means, “Do not take risks”. Remember, as drivers, we only live but once.

3) Observing what’s coming behind you.

You should not only observe what’s coming ahead of you, you should in fact be observing what’s coming behind you if you intend to overtake as well.

Ensure that there are no vehicles attempting to overtake you.

This can be done with the help of your rear view mirror and your right hand side mirror.

Besides, these, you can even turn your head slightly to the back to see if there are any vehicles approaching from behind.

4) Giving signals to the right.

The driver should give signals to the right, to make his intention to overtake known.

Ideally, you should practice what is called the 3 seconds rule, whereby the signals are allowed to flash for a period of 3 seconds.

This would allow motorists behind to be aware of your intentions.

At the same time, a driver should also continue to adopt the 12 seconds rule.

In this aspect, your eyes should scan a distance of at least 100 meters ahead.

5) Moving to the right.

Before attempting to move the right lane, make sure you have enough space with the car that is ahead of you.

While attempting to move to the right, look at your rear view mirror and your right side mirror as well to make sure there are no cars or vehicles coming behind you.

If you observe a motorcycle in front of the vehicle on the left lane, you are discouraged from overtaking.

Overtaking a vehicle and motorcycle ahead of it implies overtaking 2 vehicles, not one.

The time required to do this will be twice the time it requires to overtake only a car.

6) Speeding up your car.

Before entering the right lane, a driver should ideally change down to a lower gear, the 3rd gear, as you will need extra power whilst overtaking.

7) Communicate with the car you’re overtaking.

As you enter the right lane and when drawing parallel to the vehicle you’re overtaking, communicate with the driver being overtaken by horning or flashing your lights.

At the same time, control your car well and be extra careful.

Drivers are also advised to overtake using a speed that’s allowed.

At highways, the permitted speed is 90 km/h and 100 km/h at expressway.

8) Giving signals to the left.

The next step in overtaking is to give signals to move back to the left lane after overtaking.

Like in the earlier case, whereby a driver gives his signals to move to the right, in this case 3 seconds is permitted for the signals to flash, which allows the driver being overtaken to be aware of your intentions.

Move only to the left after you can observe the car you’ve overtaken through your rear view mirror.

Provide ample and safe distance before moving back to the left hand side of the road.

9) Moving to the left.

Once safely on the left lane, travel along practicing the 2 seconds rule and the 12 seconds rule for observing safe distances in front and at the back.

10) Continuing with your journey after overtaking.

Continue on with your journey while observing the speeding limit.

I have taken much care and thought in attempting to write this important article.

Efforts taken to come up with this article has not been easy.

However, it is hoped readers would be able to benefit from it tremendously and that they would be able to execute the steps of overtaking safely in their journey, especially in expressways and highways all across the country.

By | 2017-05-01T02:12:58+08:00 May 26th, 2010|Driving Safety|3 Comments

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  1. Driving School Gloucester May 29, 2010 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I really appreciate your tips,it is good to know that you provide a proper guidelines to overtake.It is not too safe specially when you are in the expressway but still you must be alert for possible action that you may do.

    • Cikgu Yap May 30, 2010 at 12:57 am - Reply

      Encouraging comments from you again and again spur me on!

      Hope you will find the article useful.

  2. Rinaldi March 14, 2011 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Dear Cikgu Yap,
    Excellent work as always. I couldn’t recall giving signals to left back in the 6 hours course 10 years ago. Nevertheless, I do practice it until today.

    I would like to emphasis point no. 6 & 7, i.e. overtaking @ allowable speed. Since driving @ speed limit is already consider ‘slow coaches’, I bet the overtaker must have driven more than speed limit. I am always overtaken by almost all vehicles behind me, not to mention them being upset, giving high beam and horns. In fact some attempt to overtake from left! :P


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