Nick’s Blog

Overtaking

by Nick on Nov.15, 2009, under On The Road

Just recently I was driving along a stretch of road near home. It’s one of those pieces of road that the local bureaucrats cannot quite decide the appropriate speed limit for. It has been set at 50 km/h even though it is really out of town and could easily be set at 80km/h. It has no cycle track or pavement and there are no buildings along it. But, having seen that it is a favourite haunt of police officers looking to up there end of year tariff (I used to work for the Police), I tend to keep to around 50-60 km/h.

In the middle of this particular stretch of road there is a roundabout. The roundabout has two lanes divided by raised ridges but the right hand lane is really meant for turning right and the left hand lane for straight on.  It is possible to use the right hand lane to get past slow moving traffic and I’ve done this myself. However once you have passed the traffic you are overtaking (or rather undertaking) you have to merge in and it is that traffic you have overtaken that has priority. So it is possible that you might not be able to get in if you are not far enough ahead.

Well a few days ago I was driving behind a slowish column of traffic but using the left had lane of the roundabout. I noticed that someone behind us had lost patience and tried his luck with the alternate route. He arrive at the merge point at the same time as me and I was not in particularly generous mood and he could not be bothered to indicate so I did not let him in. However the side of his Mercedes (OK there might have been some envy involved) was clearly getting quite close to my little Swift but I made it through much to his disgust. He let me know his feelings using the power of his horn.

Clearly he believed that having overtaken a column of traffic, all stuck behind the same vehicle that he had some right to simply claim a place nearer the front of the queue. To me that is the ultimate arrogance. Sure, if your car is powerful enough and you can overtake then go ahead but don’t expect that roads to open up for you (in some biblical way) just because you hope it will. Those of us at the front of the queue also have places to go so if you cannot complete the manoeuvre then I’d suggest not starting it.

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