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BeN

Question on undertaking

This is something which I've wondered for a while now. Why is undertaking, or passing on the left/inside, seen as unsafe?

I've searched online but the only explanation I saw was that there is the possibility of the car on the right lane suddenly moving left and then taking you out and causing a crash.

This doesn't make sense to me because:

1) It can happen when you're overtaking on the right as well.
2) If I'm passing someone it means I'm probably travelling at a much faster speed than he is, so the time I spend being alongside him is minimal at best.

I presume the real answer has something to do with blind spots but even then I think that's not such a big issue. If you set your mirrors right you can see quite a lot out of your car, and many cars these days also have blind spot monitoring/alert systems too.

Anyone knows?
Frank Bullitt

The principle being, I think, that if you only need to anticipate vehicles coming at a higher speed to the right it is better and easier to manage that information than if from both sides. Also, it is incredibly easy to deal with if people automatically drive in the furthest left hand lane that is available
simonp

You can seemingly overtake on either side in the US...
BeN

Frank Bullitt wrote:
The principle being, I think, that if you only need to anticipate vehicles coming at a higher speed to the right it is better and easier to manage that information than if from both sides. Also, it is incredibly easy to deal with if people automatically drive in the furthest left hand lane that is available


That makes a bit more sense but I feel, at least, that looking out at all sides isn't all that difficult, IMO anyway.
Big Blue

You can undertake in the US.

In the U.K. You can undertake when in traffic that is stop-start.

The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.
JohnC

BeN wrote:

That makes a bit more sense but I feel, at least, that looking out at all sides isn't all that difficult, IMO anyway.


For some of the idiots on British roads just looking out the windscreen is more than they can cope with, so expecting them to be aware of cars coming up behind quickly on both sides is more than they could comprehend.

It is purely a safety issue and the first rule of the road, which is keep left, means that slower traffic should gravitate left and faster traffic gravitate right. As simonp said, they overtake on both sides in USA and when you have someone weaving in and out of lanes, undertaking and overtaking it is highly dangerous if you have someone who is not paying full attention ahead.
Boxer6

JohnC wrote:
BeN wrote:

That makes a bit more sense but I feel, at least, that looking out at all sides isn't all that difficult, IMO anyway.


For some of the idiots on British roads just looking out the windscreen is more than they can cope with, so expecting them to be aware of cars coming up behind quickly on both sides is more than they could comprehend.

It is purely a safety issue and the first rule of the road, which is keep left, means that slower traffic should gravitate left and faster traffic gravitate right. As simonp said, they overtake on both sides in USA and when you have someone weaving in and out of lanes, undertaking and overtaking it is highly dangerous if you have someone who is not paying full attention ahead.


I seem to remember reading that overtaking on both sides also contributes quite significantly to the Us's horrendous road casualty figures. That was a while ago mind, so may not be as true any more.
JohnC

Boxer6 wrote:
I seem to remember reading that overtaking on both sides also contributes quite significantly to the Us's horrendous road casualty figures. That was a while ago mind, so may not be as true any more.


Based on what I saw when we were in Florida last Easter, there are countless near accidents all the time and with some of those big trucks belting along at 70mph, the consequences when something does go wrong have the potential to be pretty big!
PhilD

I'm not sure I understand the question? I see plenty of people passing me on both sides as I cruise in the middle lane of the motorway at 57 mph (the safest and most economical speed).
TreVoR

PhilD wrote:
I'm not sure I understand the question? I see plenty of people passing me on both sides as I cruise in the middle lane of the motorway at 57 mph (the safest and most economical speed).


Martin

PhilD wrote:
I'm not sure I understand the question? I see plenty of people passing me on both sides as I cruise in the middle lane of the motorway at 57 mph (the safest and most economical speed).


The 500L really would be perfect for you!  
Humphrey The Pug

Big Blue wrote:
The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


Lol!

I've given up now and frequently pass on the left/maintain my speed; if I'm sat at 65/70 (which I do do) in an empty lane 1 and am fast approaching an MLM in lane 2, I'm not going to speed up to go round and overtake in lane 3 and then go back to an empty lane, why should I.

From what I've read it isn't "undertaking", it is maintaining my speed.
Stuntman

Humphrey The Pug wrote:
Big Blue wrote:
The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


Lol!

I've given up now and frequently pass on the left/maintain my speed; if I'm sat at 65/70 (which I do do) in an empty lane 1 and am fast approaching an MLM in lane 2, I'm not going to speed up to go round and overtake in lane 3 and then go back to an empty lane, why should I.

From what I've read it isn't "undertaking", it is maintaining my speed.


I have to say I disagree with you on this one Humph.  I'd see that as being two wrongs not making a right.  

I almost never undertake.  I will sit behind a car, patiently, for ages until it does the decent thing and gets out of my fucking way  
TreVoR

Stuntman wrote:
Humphrey The Pug wrote:
Big Blue wrote:
The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


Lol!

I've given up now and frequently pass on the left/maintain my speed; if I'm sat at 65/70 (which I do do) in an empty lane 1 and am fast approaching an MLM in lane 2, I'm not going to speed up to go round and overtake in lane 3 and then go back to an empty lane, why should I.

From what I've read it isn't "undertaking", it is maintaining my speed.


I have to say I disagree with you on this one Humph.  I'd see that as being two wrongs not making a right.  

I almost never undertake.  I will sit behind a car, patiently, for ages until it does the decent thing and gets out of my fucking way  


I find flashing the lights, tailgating while weaving about, putting on the right indicator and gesticulating often helps in this situation.
Frank Bullitt

Stuntman wrote:
Humphrey The Pug wrote:
Big Blue wrote:
The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


Lol!

I've given up now and frequently pass on the left/maintain my speed; if I'm sat at 65/70 (which I do do) in an empty lane 1 and am fast approaching an MLM in lane 2, I'm not going to speed up to go round and overtake in lane 3 and then go back to an empty lane, why should I.

From what I've read it isn't "undertaking", it is maintaining my speed.


I have to say I disagree with you on this one Humph.  I'd see that as being two wrongs not making a right.  

I almost never undertake.  I will sit behind a car, patiently, for ages until it does the decent thing and gets out of my fucking way  


I agree with Humph and do the same - if you are in two lines of traffic where the inside lane goes faster where is the difference?

I did this last night, I was overtaken by and E60 doing 60 in a 50, as it hit the national speed limit he sped-up to about 65 and I did the same to 70, after 4-500 yards I came up alongside him, went past at which point he pulled to the left; I hadn't undertaken as I'd not changed lanes to do so, I'd simply been in a (very) short queue going faster on the inside lane as traffic permitted.
Martin

The voodoo lights really help at this time of year.  The beam going down the left hand side of their car wakes up a fair few and if that doesn't work, a boat of full beam almost always does the trick.  Sometimes they pull over then straight back out and give it some main beam, but I'm usually a fair way up the road by then and if not, all my mirrors dim, so they're wasting their time.
Michael

Humphrey The Pug wrote:
Big Blue wrote:
The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


Lol!

I've given up now and frequently pass on the left/maintain my speed; if I'm sat at 65/70 (which I do do) in an empty lane 1 and am fast approaching an MLM in lane 2, I'm not going to speed up to go round and overtake in lane 3 and then go back to an empty lane, why should I.

From what I've read it isn't "undertaking", it is maintaining my speed.


Absolutely with you on this. When I collect Louisa from work and she's wearing her high via cycling jacket I do find that people move out the Volvos way PDQ.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

JohnC wrote:
For some of the idiots on British roads just looking out the windscreen is more than they can cope with, so expecting them to be aware of cars coming up behind quickly on both sides is more than they could comprehend.

It is purely a safety issue and the first rule of the road, which is keep left, means that slower traffic should gravitate left and faster traffic gravitate right. As simonp said, they overtake on both sides in USA and when you have someone weaving in and out of lanes, undertaking and overtaking it is highly dangerous if you have someone who is not paying full attention ahead.

+1, and also remember that there are people of greatly varying abilities/competencies on our roads, some of whom give great cause for concern to the vast majority !
Boxer6

Big Blue wrote:
In the U.K. You can undertake when in traffic that is stop-start.

The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


This says all you need to know really.

However you dress it up or try to rationalise it, under-taking is illegal and plod will probably charge you if you're spotted.


Just don't get spotted!
him

You can undertake if a car is indicating right (to turn right) that can be "expanded" if you are suitably creative surely?
PhilD

Frank Bullitt wrote:
Stuntman wrote:
Humphrey The Pug wrote:
Big Blue wrote:
The main rationale is that you are supposed to drive on the left at all times and therefore only ever need to overtake on the right, as is clearly evidenced on the motorways and A roads of the UK.


Lol!

I've given up now and frequently pass on the left/maintain my speed; if I'm sat at 65/70 (which I do do) in an empty lane 1 and am fast approaching an MLM in lane 2, I'm not going to speed up to go round and overtake in lane 3 and then go back to an empty lane, why should I.

From what I've read it isn't "undertaking", it is maintaining my speed.


I have to say I disagree with you on this one Humph.  I'd see that as being two wrongs not making a right.  

I almost never undertake.  I will sit behind a car, patiently, for ages until it does the decent thing and gets out of my fucking way  


I agree with Humph and do the same - if you are in two lines of traffic where the inside lane goes faster where is the difference?

I did this last night, I was overtaken by and E60 doing 60 in a 50, as it hit the national speed limit he sped-up to about 65 and I did the same to 70, after 4-500 yards I came up alongside him, went past at which point he pulled to the left; I hadn't undertaken as I'd not changed lanes to do so, I'd simply been in a (very) short queue going faster on the inside lane as traffic permitted.


Does this not depend on the volume/ density of traffic? On the one end of the spectrum is a nearly empty motorway with me in the middle in my 500L. At the other is a stop start jam. I have found myself in a rather odd middle ground a few times where the traffic is very dense but all moving along quite nicely. Sometimes the inside lane moves quicker and you end up undertaking many times.

If traffic is less dense then I feel that undertaking is dangerous. For the person being under/overtaken there is divided attention and for those undertaking a move to the right after the undertake could be matched by a move to the left by someone overtaking - neither would be aware of the others existence until they both try to occupy the same bit of road!
gooner

Frank Bullitt wrote:
The principle being, I think, that if you only need to anticipate vehicles coming at a higher speed to the right it is better and easier to manage that information than if from both sides. Also, it is incredibly easy to deal with if people automatically drive in the furthest left hand lane that is available


Your final sentence explains exactly where the system falls on its arse on the average UK motorway!
Big Blue

Clearly as a maniac biker I undertake often. We call it filtering but over about 40mph it simply becomes a matter of 1bhp/ kg* being somewhat more than the cars have and an undertake being less than 2s effort.


* sadly not including me on it......
Grampa

Drive for a few miles on an American Interstate with the nutters that weave in and out of every lane at high speed and you soon realise why legalising undertaken is best left until all drivers are equipped with eyes in the back of their heads.
Blarno

We're moving to smart motorways.

First we need to move to smart drivers.
Giant

My thoughts on undertaking is if a driver is so unaware of a car approaching from behind that they fail to move over, theyare most certainly going to be unaware of a car passing on the left when they suddenly and randomly decide to change lanes .

I have been known to undertake in lane one on sections of four lane motorway when the CLOD is in lane three and the first two lanes are clear though.
Roadsterstu

JohnC wrote:
Boxer6 wrote:
I seem to remember reading that overtaking on both sides also contributes quite significantly to the Us's horrendous road casualty figures. That was a while ago mind, so may not be as true any more.


Based on what I saw when we were in Florida last Easter, there are countless near accidents all the time and with some of those big trucks belting along at 70mph, the consequences when something does go wrong have the potential to be pretty big!


Another big problem is that US "motorways" often do not have crash barriers to the sides or in the central reservations, so "cross over" collisions are more prevalent.
franki68

I think undertaking is a good business to be in,you never run out of clients.Must be pretty depressing though dealing with all that death.
JohnC

Giant wrote:
My thoughts on undertaking is if a driver is so unaware of a car approaching from behind that they fail to move over, theyare most certainly going to be unaware of a car passing on the left when they suddenly and randomly decide to change lanes .



On my relatively short morning commute I travel long a stretch of 40mph dual carriageway and there are countless drivers who just sit in the outside because they can, or because they don't want me to pass or because they are pr*cks. The vast majority know I am there though. I just think they all caught a serious dose of arseholes disease.
Bob Sacamano

franki68 wrote:
I think undertaking is a good business to be in,you never run out of clients.Must be pretty depressing though dealing with all that death.


I have to say that when I saw the post headline I just assumed it was Ben looking for an additional income stream to supplement the Uber career.

There's probably money to be made if someone could come up with an app that combines Uber and undertaking.

Keep left and no undertaking is only really practical on motorways with 3 or less lanes - more than that and it just causes more people to travel from left to right and back again. Once you get 5 lanes or more you can forget it.
Boxer6

Blarno wrote:
We're moving to smart motorways.

First we need to move to smart drivers.


So-called smart motorways are only as smart as the dickheads who operate them, never mind the drivers; my very limited experience of smart m-ways consists of the M1 near Lutin a couple of years ago - NOT impressed in the least. For example, the highly dangerous (IMO) practice of utilising the hard shoulder as an extra lane was in force, on a Saturday morning with very low traffic volume and, no doubt, the same sort of weekend-only M-way drivers we get up here. Crazy.
PG

Boxer6 wrote:
So-called smart motorways are only as smart as the dickheads who operate them, never mind the drivers; my very limited experience of smart m-ways consists of the M1 near Lutin a couple of years ago - NOT impressed in the least....


I'll have to disagree on this one. As a regular M6, M42 user, the sections that have smart motorway running are way better than they were before. Yes, you may all have to dribble along at 40 or 50. But better and far safer then the old 70-0-70-0-70 routine. Hard shoulder running and refuge areas seem quite safe to me - I've not seen accidents happen with hard shoulder running. And if the hard should does get blocked, the gantries quickly show it is closed and people move over.

On the OP, the laws on undertaking relate back to a time when there were far fewer cars on the road and keeping left meant something to people. Now i think some common sense has to be allowed.

Yes, if a motorway / A road is running freely, we should not undertake. But in slow moving traffic when relative speeds are much lower, I can't see it as an issue.
PhilD

Bob Sacamano wrote:


There's probably money to be made if someone could come up with an app that combines Uber and undertaking.

.


Call the Ubertaker does have a certain ring to it.
Tim

I don't agree with undertaking (the road type) but there are so many dimwits now who drive at 60 in the right hand lane of DCs that if you didn't consider it you'd get nowhere.
Stuntman

JohnC wrote:
... there are countless drivers who just sit in the outside because they can, or because they don't want me to pass or because they are pr*cks. The vast majority know I am there though. I just think they all caught a serious dose of arseholes disease.


My experience too.  It occasionally frustrates me but these days I mostly just smile.
gooner

I also find that more and more drivers are forming a long queue in lane 3 slowly trying to get past someone in lane 2 that is matching the speed of the trucks in lane 1. Inevitably someone behind (usually a white van) will pull from lane 3 to the empty lane 2 and undertake the whole queue before causing more aggro as everyone in lane 3 bunches up to try and stop letting them in further up the queue.
Humphrey The Pug

Last night on the way back from Wisley gardens, I wanted to get home quickly so was doing an indicated 85 in a free flowing lane 3, lane 1 was completely empty for 2 miles (I set the trip computer as I was curious), then you would see 1 random car in lane 1 and then it would become completely empty again for a mile or so, lane 2 was always occupied as was lane 3.
BeN

Well, so no consensus then?!

I guess the problem is so many dicks enjoy sitting on the outside lane for no good reason now that sometimes you simply have no choice.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Humphrey The Pug wrote:
lane 1 was completely empty for 2 miles (I set the trip computer as I was curious), then you would see 1 random car in lane 1 and then it would become completely empty again for a mile or so, lane 2 was always occupied as was lane 3.


Similar on the M3 this morning on my way to work; I had the inside lane to myself for probably over 50% of my journey !
Tim

BeN wrote:
Well, so no consensus then?!

I guess the problem is so many dicks enjoy sitting on the outside lane for no good reason now that sometimes you simply have no choice.


A lot of them sit in the right lane because in several miles they will be turning right. It happens all the time heading to Dundee from the South as people wanting to go East when they get there will need to be in the right lane at the North end of the Tay Bridge. The fact they get in the right lane and do 60 on the dual carriageway approach to the Bridge and then 45 across the Bridge itself probably means they think they're planning ahead but its annoying when it happens every day.

They reverse this process on the way home at night.
Boxer6

Tim wrote:
BeN wrote:
Well, so no consensus then?!

I guess the problem is so many dicks enjoy sitting on the outside lane for no good reason now that sometimes you simply have no choice.


A lot of them sit in the right lane because in several miles they will be turning right. It happens all the time heading to Dundee from the South as people wanting to go East when they get there will need to be in the right lane at the North end of the Tay Bridge. The fact they get in the right lane and do 60 on the dual carriageway approach to the Bridge and then 45 across the Bridge itself probably means they think they're planning ahead but its annoying when it happens every day.

They reverse this process on the way home at night.


I detest driving in Dundee for this very reason!
JohnC

Boxer6 wrote:
Tim wrote:
BeN wrote:
Well, so no consensus then?!

I guess the problem is so many dicks enjoy sitting on the outside lane for no good reason now that sometimes you simply have no choice.


A lot of them sit in the right lane because in several miles they will be turning right. It happens all the time heading to Dundee from the South as people wanting to go East when they get there will need to be in the right lane at the North end of the Tay Bridge. The fact they get in the right lane and do 60 on the dual carriageway approach to the Bridge and then 45 across the Bridge itself probably means they think they're planning ahead but its annoying when it happens every day.

They reverse this process on the way home at night.


I detest driving in Dundee for this very reason!


Better signage on the Tay Bridge would help because if you don't know the road you don't know that you can go right from the left hand lane as well. Obviously designed by the same guys who paint the arrows on the road about 50 yds from a busy junction and put no signs up, so you arrive in the left lane to go straight on and find it is a filter left only, when it's too late. God must have sucked the common sense out of some of these people.
Frank Bullitt

Had another one tonight - overtook a van then pulled back to the left noticing the 1er in the outside lane ahead, caught up with it and happened, in my traffic queue of one, to end up going faster than itand being in front.

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