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Behind-the-Wheel

Increasing your vehicle's speed while being passed

Passing safety on the road

Passing zones alway present interesting situations for traffic enforcement.

There were many times when I would find one driver in the right lane travelling at, or near, the speed limit and another overtaking on the left at a speed significantly in excess of the limit.

On stopping the speeder, I would often hear about how they had been forced to travel behind the slower vehicle, which was going well under the limit, for great distances and how the slow driver sped up when they reached the passing lane.

"Isn't there a law about increasing your speed while being passed?" I was often asked.

Yes, there is, but it does not automatically take effect when you find an opportunity to pass.

According to the The Motor Vehicle Act:

Section 157 (2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, a driver of an overtaken vehicle,

(a) on hearing an audible signal given by the driver of the overtaking vehicle, must cause the vehicle to give way to the right in favour of the overtaking vehicle, and

(b) must not increase the speed of the vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

When there is only one lane for your direction of travel and a safe opportunity to pass appears, honk your horn at the slower driver ahead of you. Having heard the sound of your horn, they are required to wait until after you pass to speed up.

Multiple lanes permit passing on the right because there are at least two adjacent lanes for the same direction of travel. So, the previously slow driver is allowed to speed up to the limit in this type of passing zone.

Experience taught me if I applied my speed "allowance" for drivers over the limit to those under the limit and watched the advisory speed signs, speeders were a dime a dozen and truly slow drivers were difficult to find.

If you exceed the limit in order to pass, you take your chances with law enforcement.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.



More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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