Overtaking on the highways -by getting into the end of a joining lane?

| In Articles - Driving | 1st May 2022

As this article can be visible for drivers in countries where driving is on the left or right, overtaking to left or right will be replaced with overtaking from inside (a faster speed lane) or from outside (a slower speed lane).

Overtaking a car can be done only on a lane that, by definition, is a faster lane. The title of this article refers only at cases when is a very high traffic and cars are moving slow.

There are lots of rules, articles, based on laws, but some of them can be interpreted and used based on everyone opinion. As some people might say - if you can do something, why not to do it?

Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake. ... In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake.

UK Highway Code
Rule 268, states

Overtaking from the wrong side thinking that is not illegal

Some people are always desperate to be in front of the next car, while driving. To be behind somebody else is unacceptable and this type of divers have one single target - to overtake the next car and the car after it and so on. It doesn't matter how, if is safe or legal.

Driving on the public roads is not a contest, it is not a rally and people should wait for the rest of the drivers and other traffic participants that have the right to move first, to move before moving. Roads must be a safe place, and this is the only way to make them safe, by giving priority and respect other traffic participants where is required to do so.

With all that, many times, mad drivers are overtaking from the left, being in UK, or on the right on European countries where driving is on the right hand side.

On a busy motorway, when approaching the end of a joining lane, busy as well, some desperate drivers from the first lane tend to get into the empty space between the first lane and the joining lane to overtake a number of cars from the front and reduce the time spent in traffic.

Merging back with the traffic is relatively easy because drivers coming on the motorway have the moral obligation to let incoming cars get into the first lane, and in this way, the cars getting out from the first lane from behind are getting back in the first lane jumping over 5-10 cars and maybe 50-100 meters.

For any driver from ahead that didn't realize where from that car was coming nothing unusual happen.

A list of not permitted moves can be listed with this type of behaviour:

  • overtaking from an outside lane, or from hard shoulder
  • not giving priority to the cars joining the motorway from the joining lane, forcing an entry in the new queue
  • not staying in the queue when is hard traffic

Even if apparently, by doing a few of these type of movements a driver might have the impression that is saving some time, it is very well known from many people experience that are big chances that in a few miles to be next to a car that a few miles back was overtaken in such manner, from the simple fact that the fast lane can become less busy and move faster at some point, when the first lane, also busy with trucks and the joining cars will stay busy for a longer distance.

A similar practice is done by using an slow lane to overtake because the fast lane is too busy

When the fast lanes are all busy by drivers that want to go fast on the most inner lanes only, some drivers have no choice than moving to an outside lane. When the outside lane is empty or has less traffic, the speed can be increased to keep up with the traffic (in the speed limit) letting the cars from the previous lane behind. This action is completely legal as long as the driver is not returning immediately to the initial lane.

When the traffic ahead is getting heavy again on the first lane/lanes, getting back to a fast lane where is possible does not mean that the previous move, even if done a few seconds ago, is illegal and it can be practiced with extra care, because anyone moving faster on an outside lane can be a danger for anyone else changing the lanes for the same reason or for an exit.