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Overtaking explained: Times when illegal passing moves are permitted
23 August 2021 @ 09:21

ROAD traffic rules such as the meaning of signs and markings and use of lanes are similar in the majority of countries, but some minor elements differ as we cross borders and, in practice, a lot of native or resident drivers in a given country may not be clear on a few aspects.

One of these is where overtaking – on single carriageways – is prohibited, and where the exceptions to these prohibitions are, so Spain's General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), part of the ministry of transport, has issued some guidelines.


When overtaking is not allowed

Overtaking on roads with one lane only in either direction is against the law on a bend or other elements that render visibility poor, or where the road surface changes – something that can often be the case on inter-provincial highways, especially where they cover more than one region, as investment in infrastructure repairs and maintenance in one province or region and lack of in another means a new spread of tarmac can abruptly stop at a border.

Also, overtaking is forbidden on marked pedestrian crossings, in intersections, at level crossings or close to them, and inside tunnels – except, in all cases, where the road is a dual carriageway or has three or more lanes.

In many cases, the ban on passing drivers in front is made visible with 'no overtaking' signs or by an unbroken white line down the middle of the road, but on smaller lanes these are not always in place, so motorists need to know when they are required to stay behind the car in front even if no indications tell them so.

Whilst most drivers are broadly aware of the above, and common sense kicks in where they are not sure, road traffic laws change relatively quickly – not exactly every couple of years, but certainly a handful of times since the average adult passed his or her driving test, after which they no longer have any mandatory instruction sessions or theory lessons to keep them up to date.

To this end, when many of today's motorists first got their licences, speed limits on national non-motorway highways were 100 kilometres per hour (62mph) as opposed to 90 kilometres per hour (56mph), town roads had a 50-kilometre (31mph) limit rather than 30 kilometres (18.6mph) and there were no specific rules about distance that should be left when passing vulnerable road users.

This means many may not be aware of those exceptions when the 'no overtaking' rule can, and even should, be discarded.


When 'forbidden' overtaking manoeuvres are allowed

According to the DGT, overtaking is permitted on an intersection where the driver passing has priority – this will be indicated via road markings.

Level crossings where lateral visibility is not an issue are another exception – for example, motorists are permitted to overtake a two-wheeled vehicle which does not impede the side view or that of a safe distance up ahead in the opposite lane.

Overtaking is permitted on roundabouts, except where these are intersections, provided 'the circumstances allow this manoeuvre to be effected safely', the DGT explains.



Like 1


midasgold said:
23 August 2021 @ 10:45

ROUNDABOUTS - It would be good if roundabout lane usage was bought up to " international " standards. - Pedro with donkey rules are no longer suitable.

robin1 said:
28 August 2021 @ 09:06

This business of using right hand lane of a roundabout to go off at 3rd or 4th exit is ridiculous. If it’s a dual carriageway, the right hand lane should be used for 1st or second exit and left hand lane for 2nd exit or further round, switching to right as you approach your exit.

senorita said:
28 August 2021 @ 12:43

Oh how i agree with Robin.

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