Passing Lanes

Passing lanes, or I-will-not-let-you-pass-lanes as many of us experience, are one of the common things people talk about when they discuss driving. Most passing lanes are only one kilometre long. Now this may seem like plentiful distance to pass, until you break it down.

When there is no vehicle to pass at a passing lane and your speed is 100 km/h, it would take 36 seconds to cover a one-kilometre long passing lane. The challenge begins when you want to pass another vehicle like a 20-meter long truck that is doing ninety-five kilometres per hour. In this situation, there is only a five kilometre per hour speed variance. Therefore, in reality the passing vehicle is only doing five kilometres per hour. To get past the truck at this rate will take about four kilometres to do!

You could decide not to pass and then just keep to the left hand lane. Please do not attempt to pass at a hundred when it is clear the vehicles behind you also want to pass quickly. You will cause frustration and we all know what some frustrated drivers do – they do stupid things! If you do decide to pass, make sure you are only about two seconds (about sixty meters) behind the vehicle you are about to pass. Remember to indicate and check your blind spots!

I know I will get negative comments with my next suggestion. Drivers of trucks and vehicles towing trailers, caravans, or boats, who are supposed to drive at 90 km/h max, should always be aware of build-up of traffic behind them. The courteous thing to do at passing lanes is to drop your speed to about 70 or 80, to enable traffic to get pass. Once they have all passed, you could speed up to 90 again. This would definitely reduce stress levels for everyone sharing that part of the road. It will also help drivers wanting to pass to not having to go exceedingly faster to get past.

For those drivers who say that by slowing down so much will have a huge impact on their trip, here is what time you will lose. Over a two hundred-kilometre trip, doing this at twenty passing lanes, would only add just over three minutes to your trip.  

The thought that you are actively contributing to road safety by not frustrating other drivers should be enough to make you do it.

Safer Journeys!

Daniel Naudé

Road safety Coordinator