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Safe Driving Tips – Vehicles Overtaking With Insufficient Space

In general, we all expect other road users to obey the law and only overtake where safe to do so. But human beings do make mistakes. Some drivers have not done a proper drivers license test or have no license at all. There are even other drivers who feel that they are above the law and constantly break the law. We see this on our roads every day. But there are also some “hidden” reasons why a driver may be overtaking with insufficient space left.

  • What about a driver that has travelled up from the coast to the highveld. That driver is probably used to the performance of his vehicle and pulls out to overtake in what he/she has judged as a safe gap. What is not considered is the extra load from his passengers and luggage as well as the fact that due to the thinner air at the higher altitude, the vehicle has lost 15-17% of its power. This killer situation develops very quickly when both vehicles are doing 120Kph and the gap is closing at 66 meters per second.
  • What about the old, underpowered vehicle. The driver more than likely has taken no post license driver training courses and would be unaware of things like “acceleration sense” applied to overtaking. This is when the driver trying to overtake makes sure that he/she has left additional following distance behind the vehicle to be overtaken. When a safe gap has been identified for overtaking, this allows the driver to be able to accelerate in his lane to gain speed before moving out to overtake. This makes the overtaking manoeuvre much quicker and safer.
  • Of course visibility and judging the speed of the oncoming vehicle are important factors. Driving with your headlights on all the time makes your vehicle more visible to other road users. Remember that flashing your lights will not move an oncoming vehicle out of the way. Rather take evasive action like slowing and / or identifying a suitable escape route.

There are many things that a driver can do to minimise the overtaking risk so that you not involved in a non-repeatable collision. A good Defensive Driving Course will ensure that you have the correct Defensive Driving habits built in. Think about attending one. It is your greatest insurance against becoming a statistic.

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