10 Things To Keep In Mind Before Overtaking The Car Ahead

The moment you decide to overtake, your judgment must be accurate. In Kenya, improper overtaking has led to numerous road fatalities.

It is crucial to constantly remind ourselves of safe overtaking practices.

Here are ten important considerations to bear in mind before and during overtakes:

  1. Observe road markings and signs. Pay attention to road markings and signs that guide overtaking. Double solid lines, double solid yellow lines, and solid yellow lines indicate no overtaking. Solid white lines discourage overtaking, while broken white lines indicate a safe opportunity.
  2. Ensure sufficient distance and space. Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the oncoming one before attempting an overtake. Also, make sure there is enough space to merge back into your lane once you have overtaken.
  3. Check your rear before overtaking. Always check your rearview and sideview mirrors to avoid colliding with another vehicle attempting an overtake. It is also wise to glance over your shoulder to ensure it is safe to proceed.
  4. Maintain clear visibility ahead. The golden rule of overtaking is to avoid attempting it if your view ahead is obstructed. Do not overtake when approaching curves, corners, or areas with sudden changes in elevation. Signs and road markings will usually indicate unsafe overtaking zones.
  5. Beware of blind spots. Exercise caution when overtaking larger vehicles such as trucks or oversized pickups, as their blind spots are significantly larger. Be aware of their visibility limitations when attempting to overtake.
  6. Be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid overtaking near construction sites, narrow streets with limited roadside visibility, or areas where unexpected pedestrians or motorists may emerge. Places like parking garages should be avoided. If there is a possibility of something suddenly crossing your path, it is not a suitable location for overtaking.
  7. Never overtake from the left. Overtake only on the right (for countries that keep left), except when the driver ahead has signaled an intention to turn right, and you can safely overtake on the left lane without obstructing others.
  8. Evaluate the necessity of overtaking. Consider whether an overtaking maneuver is truly necessary or if impatience is driving your decision. Respect local speed limits when deciding whether to overtake or maintain your current position.
  9. Choose the appropriate gear. Downshift to a lower gear for extra power when attempting an overtake. However, be mindful of the other driver’s response to your maneuver.
  10. Avoid engaging in a race. If the vehicle behind you is attempting to overtake, set aside your ego and provide sufficient space for them to merge back into your lane. Engaging in a competitive mindset may result in harm to yourself and others.

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