Almost everybody knows the basic laws and safety rules of passing: watch out for oncoming traffic, don’t cross double yellow lines, and don’t cut in front of the vehicle you just passed.
But it’s odds-on that you buy into one or more of three little myths about passing that can actually lead to to needing an auto body repair shop. We’re here to shatter these myths in order to help keep you on the straight and narrow and in one piece, when you consider going around
the next slowpoke you run up against.
Myth Number One: It’s legal to speed while you are passing
The whole point of passing is to get by the car in front of you. And this, obviously, means speeding up and going faster. But there’s a trap: your need to get by lickety-split doesn’t overrule the speed limit. Forget about the left lane being the “fast lane” when you’re speeding, you’re speeding, regardless of whether anybody else is on the road.
Myth Number Two: A two-way center lane is for passing
Some busy roads have a center lane available for vehicles traveling in either direction. Its purpose is to give drivers trying to make a left turn a place to wait for a break in oncoming traffic without causing a backup. What it most definitely is not is a passing lane. Using it that way isn’t only illegal, it’s dangerous and dumb: there are fewer better ways to ask for a head-on auto body collision, much less a ticket.
Myth Number Three: Signal late (or not at all) so nobody can cut you off
Judging from the drivers we see on multilane highways, it’s widely believed that if you signal your intention to pull into the left lane to pass, you’re just asking somebody behind and to your left to speed up and block your move.
In fact, signaling in advance of a passing maneuver is not only a legal requirement, in many places you have to signal at least 100 feet before you start to pass.
That’s about two seconds on a high speed roadway, and four seconds on a slower route. Your signal reduces your chance of a collision, so cheating here just increases the odds that you’ll end up with a trip to an auto body shop in Philadelphia.