Passing at passing lanes

Last month, I offered some advice on how to prepare for a passing maneuvre at passing lanes on state highways.

Passing lanes are typical only one kilometre long. Travelling at 100km/h, will take 36 seconds to cover this distance. Travelling at 90km/h, it will take 40 seconds. That is only 4 seconds difference, which is not a lot.

To recap, a driver has two options. Option 1 is not to pass when you are unsure what to do, like when the driver you want to pass, speeds up, or when you notice impatient drivers behind you. Option 2 is to pass as safely as possible.

When there is a queue of vehicles behind you, also wanting to pass the slower vehicle, then you have to consider what you are going to do after you have passed the slower vehicle.

Commonly, drivers would pass, move back to the left lane, and then immediately slow down if they have gone over the speed limit. This is all-good in theory, but think about what other drivers have to do to get past. If you all were passing a long vehicle like a truck or a vehicle towing a caravan or boat, then each of the passing drivers would have to pass a longer line of vehicles.

Every situation may be different. When you notice the driver behind you is impatient, I would suggest you get back to the left lane, as soon it is safe to do so. You will know because typically that driver will start pushing (move up close to your vehicle). This creates an unsafe situation.

However, when you are ahead of a line of vehicles happy to follow behind you at your travelling speed, and just like you only want to get past the slower vehicle, stay in the right hand lane. Maintain your speed.

This should allow the drivers behind you to get past the slower vehicle without having to speed up to pass the longer queue.

Unless you are about to pass a vehicle travelling very slowly, do not attempt to pass when you reach the lane narrows 200m ahead warning sign.