Digital Driving Coach Lessons

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Lesson 43: Judging the Gap, Part 5: Overtaking and Passing

Lesson 43: Judging the Gap, Part 5: Overtaking and Passing

Teen drivers will occasionally need to overtake (pass) a car or other slow-moving vehicle in front of them. If there are only two lanes of traffic, that means they will have to cross over into oncoming traffic. Not knowing how to do this correctly could be deadly.

1. How to pass other cars safely
We recommend demonstrating the correct technique to pass another car before your teen tries. We also recommend looking for a road with light traffic, if possible. Then, follow these steps:

  • Wait for the double yellow line to be dashed on your side before attempting to pass.
  • Signal and check your blind spot to make sure no one is trying to pass you.
  • Look forward, watch for oncoming traffic, signal and, when it is clear, merge into the other lane slowly. Make sure there is space in front of the car you wish to pass and accelerate.
  • When you have overtaken the vehicle you are passing, check your mirrors (and the blind spot).
  • When you can see clear space on the pavement in front of the other vehicle’s tires, signal and move back into your original lane of travel.
  • Cancel your directional signal and maintain your speed after passing.
  • After you demonstrate the correct technique, have your teen try passing a car.
  • Have your teen practice until you feel they can safely pass a car on their own.
  • Remind them to ask themselves whether it is necessary, legal and safe to pass before they decide to overtake another car.

2. Things to keep in mind
Remind teens that if they are the vehicle being passed, to do the opposite of the car that is passing them. If that car speeds up, they must slow down. If that car slows down, they must speed up. They should always leave themselves an out and not get boxed in.