Passing

The driver of a vehicle about to pass another on a two-lane highway waits for just the right moment, accelerates, moves around the vehicle ahead, then goes back into the right lane again. A simple maneuver? Not necessarily! Passing another vehicle on a two-lane highway is a potentially dangerous move, since the passing vehicle occupies the same lane as oncoming traffic for several seconds.

A miscalculation, an error in judgment, or a brief surrender to frustration or anger can suddenly put the passing driver face to face with the worst of all traffic accidents—the head-on collision.

So here are some tips for passing:

• Drive ahead. Look down the road, to the sides, and to crossroads for situations that might affect your passing patterns. If you have any doubt whatsoever about making a successful pass, wait for a better time.
• Watch for traffic signs, pavement markings, and lines. If you can see a sign up ahead that might indicate a turn or an intersection, delay your pass. A broken center line usually indicates it is all right to pass, providing the road ahead is clear. Never cross a solid line on your side of the lane or a double solid line, even if the road seems empty of approaching traffic.
• Do not get too close to the vehicle you want to pass while you are awaiting an opportunity.

For one thing, following too closely reduces your area of vision, especially if you are following a larger vehicle. Also, you will not have adequate space if the vehicle ahead suddenly slows or stops. Keep back a reasonable distance.

• When it looks like a chance to pass is coming up, start to accelerate but stay in the right lane and do not get too close. Time your move so you will be increasing speed as the time comes to move into the other lane. If the way is clear to pass, you will have a running start that more than makes up for the distance you would lose by dropping back. And if something happens to cause you to cancel your pass, you need only slow down and drop back again and wait for another opportunity.
• If other vehicles are lined up to pass a slow vehicle, wait your turn. But take care that someone is not trying to pass you as you pull out to pass the slow vehicle. Remember to glance over your shoulder and check the blind spot.
• Check your vehicle’s mirrors, glance over your shoulder, and start your left lane change signal before moving out of the right lane to pass. When you are far enough ahead of the passed vehicle to see its front in your vehicle’s inside mirror, activate the right lane change signal and move back into the right lane.

Remember that your vehicle’s passenger side outside mirror is convex. The vehicle you just passed may seem to be farther away from you than it really is.

• Try not to pass more than one vehicle at a time on two-lane roads. Reconsider before passing the next vehicle.
• Do not overtake a slowly moving vehicle too rapidly. Even though the brake lamps are not flashing, it may be slowing down or starting to turn.
• If you are being passed, make it easy for the following driver to get ahead of you. Perhaps you can ease a little to the right.

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