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Idiotic Overtaking

overtakingOK, I might have to stick my neck out a bit and explore the gender differences in driving here a bit. But what is it with guys and overtaking?  Or, to be slightly more specific, why on earth do the driving men in my life (husband, son, father and brothers) feel compelled to overtake anything that’s in front of them if they’re out on the open road?  The only male I know who doesn’t is my elderly grandfather… who (a) is quite content to perform complicated mathematical operations involving the numbers on the licence plate of the car in front of him and (b) doesn’t do much open road driving.  They always say I’m far too patient when overtaking, but I say that safety is more important, and if I can’t get a nice open stretch of road with plenty of visibility and clear road to pass safely, then I’ll resign myself to being stuck behind that freight truck for as long as necessary.  Truckies are usually pretty considerate and if they can see you in the mirrors and a twisty hill’s coming up, they tend to find a shoulder to pull onto while you whip past.

However, I am happy to say, the men in my life are reasonably safe drivers when overtaking (with the exception of one leadfooted brother but that’s another story).  I wish I could say the same for other drivers on the road.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are some real idiots out there.  The most moderate of these idiots are the ones who overtake you when you’re doing the speed limit or possibly a shade over… but they still sweep past you and disappear into the wide blue yonder.  You shake your head and wonder what they’ll do if a cop on speed patrol is waiting just around the corner.

This happens around town, too, although the likelihood that the overtaker will get picked up by a cop is much higher.  Around town, there seems to be two main motives for pointless overtaking. Pointless overtaking around town involves whizzing past another vehicle and then stopping in front of the lights – a slightly risky manoeuvre just to gain a place in the queue at the lights, which will save that driver all of two seconds, if that.  Motive number one for pointless overtaking seems to be the “I’m in a hurry” mentality. A hurried driver cannot bear to be held up for the merest fraction of a second.  Any driver doing less than the posted speed limit will be overtaken, even if said person is only slowing down to turn into a driveway.  However, it’s pretty easy to sympathise with these drivers.  We’ve all been late at times and know what it’s like to be slowed by others when every second counts because you’re already late picking up the kids or getting to that appointment.

It’s a bit harder to sympathise with motive number two. Motive number two seems to be pride and badge loyalty.  It is best demonstrated by what happened one night back when we had our Ford Falcon.  We were quietly minding our own business and cruising along when a car roared past us.  We got a glimpse of a Holden badge.  The lights turned red in front and we and the Holden driver stopped side by side at the front of the queue.  My husband was driving and couldn’t resist switching drive mode to sport and putting the foot down (the traffic was only light, I must add).  We got away first but the Holden charged past at the next possible opportunity.  The pattern was repeated at the next three lights, a skirmish in the ongoing battle between red circle and blue oval.  Eventually, when we got to the motorway, the Holden driver had had enough and absolutely floored it.  We laughed and let him go.  I dare say similar battles could take place with other makes and models, depending on how passionately you are for or against a particular brand.  As long as this overtaking is done safely and legally, it’s harmless fun.  It’s a game that one of the Top Gear team dubbed “BMW Leapfrog” – i.e. find a posh, powerful car and overtake it. Wait and see how long it takes for driver of said posh car to overtake you.

However, there is nothing at all safe or harmless about the last sort of overtaking idiot – the sort that doesn’t allow him or herself enough room to pass properly.  There is no sort of excuse for this behaviour.  To quote the road rules , “Before overtaking another vehicle, you must:

  • be sure it is safe to do so
  • on a single-lane road, be sure that the road ahead is clear for a sufficient distance
  • be sure you have sufficient distance to return to the same lane or line of traffic without endangering the vehicle being overtaken or any vehicle coming from the opposite direction


gandalf_YouShallNotPassWhy do people not follow these simple rules?  Why do they put other road users at risk?  (Yes, I’m thinking about the driver of that grey Toyota last week that decided to overtake a scant 100 metres before a bend in the road… and I was coming in the other direction around said bend and had to slam on the brakes to avoid a nasty head-on.  I don’t know who you were but if I did, your name would be MUD! I hope you saw me glaring at you.  And why can I never find the horn at moments like this?).


I wish I could say that my near miss with that silver grey Toyota was an isolated incident.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  There are jerks who try to overtake two B-trains at once.  There are those who start a passing manoeuvre, decide against it at the last minute and slam back into the left side of the road narrowly missing the person they were about to pass.  There are those who try to overtake not just the slow vehicle with the caravan but the whole conga line of patient drivers behind the caravan.  You see these sorts of things and you just have to wonder: WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?  WERE THEY THINKING AT ALL?


Safe and happy driving, even to you, driver of the grey Toyota,