Passing Safely

Most of the time, whenever drivers must pass another driver, they will be doing so on the left. Therefore, the following instructions refer to passing safely on the left.

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Passing Safely | Comedy Traffic School .com
  • Drivers should be sure that it is legal to pass where they are intending to pass.
  • Drivers should turn on their turn signal before moving into the passing lane.
  • Drivers should check the road ahead for oncoming traffic. There is a passing distance, called the PASSING RANGE, which is required for each separate instance of passing. The speed of the vehicle being passed and its speed while passing determine this passing maneuver time. If, as a driver, you are certain an oncoming vehicle will not enter your passing range while you are passing, go ahead and pass. If you are uncertain, use good judgment and do not pass. A rapid decision like this can save your life.
  • Before they pull out into the passing lane, drivers should check both rear view mirrors to make sure someone has not first decided to pass them.
  • Drivers should check their “blind spot” by looking over their left shoulder.
  • Once drivers have checked the front once more and determined it is safe and have established a safe response time, should a possible hazard arise, then they may move out into the passing lane to make the pass. Motorists should not signal their intention to pass by flicking their high beams. High beams can blind oncoming drivers.
  • Drivers should accelerate at least 10 to 15 miles per hour faster than the car they intend to pass as long as they do not exceed the speed limit.
  • Play it safe to pass another day.
  • If you are in the slightest doubt about the distance required to pass safely, do not do it! It is as simple as that.
  • Once drivers have passed the vehicle in front of them, they should check their inside rear view mirror. They should not re-enter into the regular lane until they

can clearly see the vehicle they just passed in their inside rear view mirror! When they can see the vehicle, they should first signal their intention to move back into

the lane.

  • Re-entering the lane should be done smoothly and the driver should resume a speed consistent with the speed limit.

There are a few instances when passing on the right is permitted:

  • A driver may pass on the right when another vehicle is preparing to make a left turn and there is room to pass safely on the roadway.
  • Drivers may pass on the right when they are on the open road and there are two or more lanes marked in their direction.
  • A driver may pass on the right when in a business or residential area where the road is wide enough for two or more vehicles traveling in the same direction.
  • When passing vehicles going in the same direction on a one-way road.
  • When the left half of the road is blocked.
  • When another vehicle is turning left at an intersection, into or out of, a private road or driveway.

When is Passing Illegal?

As far as driving goes, illegal and dumb are really just the same thing. Traffic laws are instituted to protect you. As you examine these rules, you may wish to consider this fact: At 60 mph, a driver will travel 132 feet in 1.5 seconds (60 mph is 1 mile per minute, or 88 ft. a second!). At that speed, if you collide with another vehicle, you needn’t worry about getting a ticket. Chances are very good that a ticket will never be issued. The police do not give tickets to seriously injured or dead people. The following situations are examples of when passing can be dangerous if not deadly…

Special Situations

  • A driver may not pass within 100 feet of a railroad crossing.
  • A driver may not pass within 100 feet of, or in the middle of, an intersection.
  • Drivers may not pass on a curve (even a slight curve) when they cannot see far enough to guarantee safety.
  • Drivers may not pass while ascending a hill when they cannot see far enough to pass safely. Remember, a driver’s ability to accelerate away from danger is impaired while ascending a hill.
  • Drivers may not pass within 100 feet of a bridge, abutment, tunnel, or viaduct when their view is impaired or when there is no available escape route should they meet an oncoming vehicle.
  • Drivers may not pass Class A and Class B vehicles (such as large trucks and RV’s) on the right. These vehicles should always be passed on the left.

Dangerous Situations

  • Drivers may not pass if passing safely requires them to exceed the posted speed limit.
  • Drivers may not pass when there is not ample safe passing distance between them and on-coming vehicles.
  • A driver may not pass when a cyclist, pedestrian, or parked vehicle is along the shoulder of the road. Can you see the reason why? In a sudden emergency situation, the vehicle being passed has no room to evade safely.
  • A driver is not allowed to drive his or her car to the left of the center line during normal circumstances but may do so to pass another vehicle when legal.
  • Drivers may not pass if there is a long line of vehicles ahead.
  • For safety reasons, it is not a good idea for drivers to pass another vehicle if they are unable to pass vehicles before reaching a no passing zone.
  • Drivers may not pass if their intention is to stop or turn shortly after completing the pass.

Being Passed by Another Vehicle.

Except when passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle is required to yield in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal or the momentary flash of headlights by the overtaking vehicle and shall not increase the speed of his vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.



Yellow and white lines are placed on the pavement to separate traffic lanes. You stay on your side, and I’ll stay on mine. The National Highway Transportation System, combined with state regulations, has implemented a family of pavement markings to indicate when and where a driver can pass safely. The rules are not intended to slow you down; they are intended to save your life. When you see a “no-passing” area, it is there for that reason.

Solid yellow lines mark the center of a road used for two-way traffic.

Broken yellow lines indicate that you may pass if the broken line is next to your driving lane.

Solid white lines mark traffic going in the same direction, such as one-way streets.

Broken white lines separate traffic lanes on roads with two or more lanes in the same direction.


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