Things to Keep in Mind

In addition to speeding, overtaking is another threat that leads to serious or fatal accidents. The accidents due to human error during overtaking are majorly caused on undivided roads or at dangerous locations such as curves. Overtaking can be defined as unlike changing traffic lanes or simple passing through another vehicle. Estimation of space, distance and speed of the oncoming vehicle is very essential before initiating overtake. This is a difficult maneuver and requires good judgmental and driving skills. Mostly overtaking is done from the right side of another vehicle. Passing on the left can be more dangerous than passing on the right. You can overtake from left on a multi-lane or on one-way road or when vehicle in front is turning right. If there is a slow moving vehicle in front of you then wait for the vehicle to move to the left. Do not suddenly change lanes to overtake from the left side. The driver of the slow moving vehicle may be moving towards left to give you way so you may overtake from his right side. The regulation 14(1) to 14(9) of the Motor Vehicles Driving Regulations, 2017 define safe and judicious methods of overtaking. Therefore, it is recommended that all drivers should know the correct method of overtaking and exercise them as per the regulations specified in MVDR, 2017.

Steps for Judicious Overtaking


  • Check if there are any traffic signs or road marking which forbid overtaking before you overtake.
  • Pay attention to the vehicle moving in front and convey your intention to the driver of the vehicle to by means of some signal.
  • Maintain a safe following distance.
  • Look out for oncoming traffic and ascertain whether you have enough space to get back into your own lane after overtaking.
  • Assure if there is anyone trying to overtake you. If someone is overtaking you, remain in your lane.
  • Move over to the right after having checked that your blind spot is clear to traffic.
  • Blow your horn as you are about to pass the vehicle. There may be chances that the driver in front might not have noticed you.
  • Maintain a safe gap between yourself and the vehicle while you are passing.
  • Signal your intention to return to your lane after overtaking the vehicle.

During night, it is essential to be cautious while overtaking. Small vehicles such as two wheelers, slow moving vehicles such must avoid overtaking others during night. Added precautions must be adhered by four wheelers while overtaking other vehicles at night:

  • Headlights must be kept in low beam.
  • It must be signaled to the driver moving ahead that you wish to overtake by using dipper.
  • Check the rear view mirrors to ensure clearance of the blind spots of the vehicle.
  • While overtaking switch headlights to high beams so that you have clear view of the road ahead. Watch out for the vehicles that may be turning right in front of you.
  • When you can see the entire front of the vehicle you are overtaking in your rear view mirror, pull back into the left lane. Give indicator so the other driver knows you are getting back into the lane.
  • Turn your lights to low beam again.
  • If you are driving on a highway where road lights are not provided or there is restricted visibility due to darkness, use high or low beam judiciously to ensure safety.

When Being Overtaken Keep in Mind the Following

  • Slow down and make it easy for the overtaking vehicle.
  • Keep close to the side if necessary.
  • Do not try to overtake others when you are being overtaken.
  • Do not race with the passing vehicle.
  • Do not overtake more than one vehicle at a time.
  • Do not persist in overtaking if the vehicle ahead suddenly increases speed.

Places Where Overtaking is Prohibited

At certain locations overtaking should be avoided or in another words overtaking at such locations is prohibited to ensure safety of the driver and other road users. Such locations may include:

  • On a steep slope
  • Near or around a sharp bend
  • Near a pedestrian crossing
  • Near a road junction
  • On a narrow bridge
  • Do not overtake when your front view is restricted