When Should You Not Pass Another Vehicle? (Explained)

When Should You Not Pass Another Vehicle

A lot of people are in a hurry these days, many more than others, and so, we see cars overtaking or ‘outsmarting’ other drivers on the road, abandoning one lane for another when they feel like the lane isn’t fast enough for them.

Many drivers even feel like they are more experienced than everyone else on the road, so they feel at liberty to overtake another vehicle, and this is fine, but not in all cases.

There are places, roads, and situations where you cannot pass another vehicle, and it is important to know these cases. Therefore, when should you not pass another vehicle?

You should not pass another vehicle:

  • When you are on a two-lane road
  • When the line on the road is a solid yellow line
  • When you are approaching a pedestrian crossing
  • When you are turning a corner or bending
  • When you are driving on a narrow road or bridge, and
  • When the car you are attempting to pass is driving almost at the speed limit.

Can You Pass Another Vehicle at all Times?

No, you can’t. There are many situations where it is considered completely normal to pass another vehicle, but not in all situations.

You can pass another vehicle, but you cannot pass another vehicle at all times. There are rules on the road, and it is paramount for every driver to abide by those rules.

It is okay to pass another vehicle when you are on a very wide road and all the cars are driving in the same direction, that is, on a one-way road, when you have clear visibility of the road in front of you, and if overtaking will not cause you to break the speed limit.

Also, you can overtake when the road markings are drawn on the road permit it, such as broken white or yellow lines in the middle, if the driver in front of you has permitted you to do so, and you see that it is safe.

When Should You Not Pass Another Vehicle?

As reiterated earlier, you can pass another vehicle, or overtake a vehicle in front of you, but you must know that overtaking is not allowed in all cases.

Therefore, to drive safely and abide by the rules of the road, you must know when it is not okay to pass another vehicle.

1. When the Road Signs or Markings Do Not Permit It

There are several road signs and markings that serve as cautions, warnings, or information to road users, and not abiding by these signs and markings can attract huge fines.

A perfect example is when you see a red and white triangular sign at an intersection.

When the markings on the road don’t permit overtaking, crossing lines, or switching to other lanes, i.e. the solid yellow lines or double white lines separating two lanes, you know that it is not okay to pass another vehicle.

You should simply drive patiently behind the vehicle in front of you in situations like this.

2. When You are Approaching a Pedestrian Crossing

You never can tell what the driver in front of you has seen and why he has slowed down when you are approaching a pedestrian crossing.

You are to always assume that there is a pedestrian at the pedestrian crossing, and so, never overtake or pass another vehicle when you are approaching a pedestrian crossing.

3. When You are Bending a Corner

This is for safety. When you want to drive down another road, turning a corner, you should not pass the vehicle in front of you because you cannot clearly see the front to know if another vehicle is coming.

Again, always assume that the driver in front of you knows better because he does. Trying to overtake as you are bending in a different direction is very dangerous, as you cannot see the road ahead of you.

4. When You Cannot See the Road Ahead of You

When you cannot see the road ahead of you, the sensible thing to do is to follow the driver in front and not try to pass or overtake him.

The driver in front has a clearer view and it would e foolhardy to try to pass him and drive into what you can’t even see clearly.

5. When Approaching a Bus Station

You would be putting the lives of people at a bus station in danger if you try to overtake or pass the vehicle in front of you.

You are required to always slow down when approaching a bus station, and you must never try to pass the driver in front of you, as that requires you to accelerate and overtake.

6. When the Vehicle is Driving at the Speed Limit

When a vehicle is already driving at the speed limit required of the road, to pass him, you have to drive higher than that speed limit, thereby committing a crime.

If you drive higher than the speed limit of the road simply to overtake another vehicle, once you are caught, you will be fined to the tune of two thousand, five hundred dollars ($2,500) or more, if found guilty.

7. When Driving on a Bad/Narrow Road

If you are driving under terrible conditions, such as a bad road, a narrow road, or a slippery road, trying to pass a vehicle would mean that you would be speeding, and this is considered dangerous.

8. When You Don’t Have Enough Space For Your Car

It would be silly to try to pass a vehicle when you are not even sure that your car can fit into the space in front of you.

Doing that will only lead to damage to your car, and any damage caused to the other car in this process will be your sole responsibility. We hope you have insurance.

What Happens if You Pass Another Vehicle When You Should Not?

When you pass a vehicle when you should not, it is termed an overtaking violation, and you will be facing an unlimited fine. You will be paying as high as $2,500 or more, or you can even get your license revoked.

When you fail to overtake properly, or when you pass another vehicle when you should not, you will be slammed with unlimited fines across various penalty points on the Highway code.

If you pass another vehicle when you should not, and you cause irreparable damage, you won’t just be getting your license revoked, you might be facing jail time as well.

This is why you need to know when you should not pass another vehicle.

Right Ways to Pass Another Vehicle

There are right ways and right places to pass another vehicle and it won’t be considered an offense. Here are the best ways to do so:

  • Get Permission From the Vehicle in Front of You: When the driver ahead of you gives you the go-ahead to pass him, you can be sure that he will allow ample chance for you, making the process smooth and safe.
  • When the Road Markings Allow: When road markings and signs allow you to pass another vehicle or overtake, or cross lanes, then overtaking, crossing lanes, or passing another vehicle won’t be considered an offense.
  • Speed Limit: If you don’t have to pass the speed limit permitted on the road before passing another vehicle, then you would be on the right when you are passing the vehicle.
  • Wide Road: When the road is wide enough to allow passing another vehicle, then you have nothing to worry about. Just make sure you are driving safe.

Pros of Passing Another Vehicle the Right Way

  • Safety: It is safe for you and other drivers on the road when you pass another driver the right way/
  • You won’t be afraid of law enforcement: You won’t have to worry about breaking any traffic rules and run the risk of being fined or having your license revoked.
  • Proper driving experience: It is always pleasant to do things the right way. There will be no cause for apprehension.
  • You build patience as a driver: When you have to wait and do things right, your patience begins to mount up, and then you will be another reason why the road is safe.

Final Thoughts

When you know how to pass another vehicle, the right way to pass another vehicle, and when not to pass another vehicle, there is one less threat on the road, and the road is a lot safer for you and every other road user.

Again, don’t overtake when you are driving on a small road, don’t overtake when you are approaching a pedestrian crossing, and don’t overtake when the road signs expressly ask you not to. Don’t overtake when you are not supposed to.