Popping up to Lakeside – our local out of town shopping centre, my husband couldn’t help but comment a couple of times on my lane changes. Once a driving instructor, forever a driving instructor!

Hesitation… It’s what happens to me when I’m not sure when is the right time to move into the faster lane of traffic to overtake. I find the amount of time between thinking about it and doing it, is slightly too long. The time I take hesitating is the time I should be making the maneuver, but again like my post on multi-storey car parks this is a knack I think might have gone on the burner for a bit. If I feel a little unsure about a days driving. I let my husband do it – easy way out.

Yet hesitation is not what I need – so once again I turned to my husband who has taken more driving tests than me: as an HGV driver, a driving instructor and he’s also trained in emergency response, to remind me about the correct procedure when driving on an A road or a Motorway.

Through our conversation, what I discovered is that just when i’m beginning to think about my maneuver, my husband in his head, has already completed it!

The correct procedure as in the Highway Code is:

Rule 162

Before overtaking you should make sure

  • the road is sufficiently clear ahead
  • road users are not beginning to overtake you
  • there is a suitable gap in front of the road user you plan to overtake.

Rule 163

Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should

  • not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake
  • use your mirrors, signal when it is safe to do so, take a quick sideways glance if necessary into the blind spot area and then start to move out
  • not assume that you can simply follow a vehicle ahead which is overtaking; there may only be enough room for one vehicle
  • move quickly past the vehicle you are overtaking, once you have started to overtake. Allow plenty of room. Move back to the left as soon as you can but do not cut in
  • take extra care at night and in poor visibility when it is harder to judge speed and distance
  • give way to oncoming vehicles before passing parked vehicles or other obstructions on your side of the road
  • only overtake on the left if the vehicle in front is signalling to turn right, and there is room to do so
  • stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues. If the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left
  • give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see Rules 211 to 215).

Planning ahead is one of the most important parts of driving as it allows you to give yourself enough time to safely carry out your maneuver and helps to you to preempt the actions of other road users.