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Breaking the speed limit while overtaking?

Old 07 August 2004, 04:34 PM
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mrklaw
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Default Breaking the speed limit while overtaking?

What is the general consensus about this? I'd also appreciate the views of any of our fellow police officers on here.

I'm driving behind someone doing 40 in a NSL/60 zone. So I overtake at the first opportunity. Now, should I stop accelerating at 60, and drive past gently, or keep accelerating until I'm past and have pulled back over to my side of the road?

Speed cameras aside, what would an observing police officer be expected to say?
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Old 07 August 2004, 04:36 PM
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Very good question
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Old 07 August 2004, 04:39 PM
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A decent officer would see it as a legitimate monoevre (sp?) as long as you returned to within the limit immediately after. It would be ridiculous to uphold a law in a circumstance which may prove dangerous, ie. prolonging the time you are crossing to the other carriageway. A pedantic [email protected] copper might say that if it is unsafe to overtake at below the posted limit then the move should not be made at all and it may constitute dangerous driving. Cameras on the other hand have no discretion

Generally I think it would be acceptable.
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Old 07 August 2004, 04:46 PM
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Legally I haven't a clue

Although I think the general concensus from Politically Correct types and By-The-Book Bobby's would be that you should NEVER break the speed limit - regardless

For me, it's pedal to the metal until I get past
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:01 PM
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Here's a little story...

Pulled onto the dual carrigeway from a roundabout... plod in a panda car pulled on b4 me, but into lane two and did 55... Muppet i thought so i moved closer, then a little closer, and fnaly they moved over. i squeazed it past them upto 80 and pulled back in doing 70.

Ok i turn off at the end only to be pulled by mr and mrs plod... She was driving "supprised!"

"Do you know why we stopped you" errr let me guess!
"becouse you were breaking the limit"
At which point i flipped... told them not to be stupid, firstly... you pulled me becouse you didn't like me badgering you to move... I did this becouse you were driving without attention! I then did 75-80 ish i went past and pulled back in at the speed limit as it said on my my dash...
"oh no son you were doing 85"
That was it. Ok i said since when has West yorks poilce put VASCAR in panda cars! "Silence"

I smiled...


i Said they had wasted enough of my time, and unless they could think of anything more constructive I'm leaving...
"Err just keep your speed down"

Goodby mr & Mrs Plod...

Muppets!

A week later i saw the same two coming out McD's with the blue tit flashing... too funny as they pulled up at the lights, talking again...! someone at the lights told them to turn it off!
LOL, must have been love birds hey!
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:03 PM
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As a cop(not traffic) I would tend to disagree with you Ali. I think you will find that the vast majority of cops are normal people, with the same attitudes as everyone else. Although im well aware that there are idiots out there, giving the police a bad name. It would make perfect sense to me, for someone to exceed the speed limit briefly in the circumstances that you mentioned as long as was safe to do so. Based on that I wouldnt been reporting anyone in these circumstances. That is of course unless said driver was a complete to$$er !!
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:06 PM
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mrklaw
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while we are here, how about this one?

Near where I am, there is a NSL section of road, which switches suddenly to a 30 round a sharpish bend, so if you don't know the road you can easily still be doing 60 when you hit the sign.

So, do you slam your brakes on to slow down, or can you slow down gently, saving wear and tear on your car?

This one sounds a little greyer than the original question, and maybe more up to the discretion of the hypothetical observing officer?
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:10 PM
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As a cop(not traffic) I would tend to disagree with you Ali.
So your saying general concensus from Politically Correct types and By-The-Book Bobby's is not what I said?
By-the-book meaning the few idiots that are out there giving the police a bad name.

Seems like your agreeing with me
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:23 PM
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Put it this way: the speed camera hidden in north Wales didn't appreciate me going up to 67mph in a 60mph to overtake a Nissan Micra that was doing 55 on a wide, straight stretch of road...
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:30 PM
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Fair point Ali. But youll find that most police are in no way by the book and politically correct types. If i did my job entirely by the book, then most of the people getting reported would be basically decent people who have made mistakes for whatever reason. All the real neds would know exactly how to keep themselves out of reach of the law.
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:36 PM
  #11  
camk
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Originally Posted by mrklaw
while we are here, how about this one?

Near where I am, there is a NSL section of road, which switches suddenly to a 30 round a sharpish bend, so if you don't know the road you can easily still be doing 60 when you hit the sign.

So, do you slam your brakes on to slow down, or can you slow down gently, saving wear and tear on your car?

This one sounds a little greyer than the original question, and maybe more up to the discretion of the hypothetical observing officer?
You are still breaking the law and driving dangerously as you are taking a bend that you cannot see round the other side ata speed you will likely be unable to stop at. There are limits as to how close to the speed sign a camera or radar can be put but not sure what they are.

overtaking or not if you over the limit then you risk getting done
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Old 07 August 2004, 05:43 PM
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After overtaking an RX8 on full tilt, I approached a roundabout (all on dual carriageway). There was a skoda estate cop car (looked like it was kitted out well) so I blasted past in second, then third, and settled to around 75 ready to pull back in, looked in my mirror only to find the cops on my rear quarter matching my speed, way too close for me to pull in, and with the lanes merging ahead. My options were (1) to slow down, and let him pass on the inside (pointless), (2) pull in, and be told off for cutting him up, (3) speed up.

I chose option 3, and did 85 to get a safe distance in front of him before pulling over again.
The car in front of me had also 'noticed' the police car and the driving standard was very high from both of us, correct indication and lane awareness on roundabouts, unlike the police car which took the roundabouts straight. On reaching the motorway he headed for lane 4 doing about 90, I was a short distace behind, matching his speed in lane 1 Late for dinner perhaps?
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Old 07 August 2004, 07:11 PM
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This was discussed on 5ive-o. If you break the speed limit then you are breaking the law. It is upto the officer if you get stopped or not. The official line seemed to be, if you need to break the speed limit in the time, distance and incorporating the speed of the car to be overtaken, then is the overtake necessary and could it be dangerous.
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Old 07 August 2004, 08:50 PM
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If the speed limit is 60 then to exceed 60 is breaking the law. That part of it is simple.

The question of what is safe is more interesting however, you could argue that if you were doing 60 and needed to pass a stationary vehicle then the safest thing to do would be to speed up so as to minimise the time spent on the "wrong side" of the road. Clearly there is no question that overtaking a stationary vehicle is necessary and that minimising your time exposed to danger is sensible and a matter of safety to everyone using the road.

On the A9 between Perth and Inverness, a road that used to be very "fast" when it was less crowded, we have seen the introduction of speed cameras. This road is mostly single carriageway and now has a lot of very slow traffic even relative to the 60mph limit. By it's nature there are few places where it is safe to overtake and guess where the cameras are located? Correct, right slap bang in the middle of the few good overtaking straights. These cameras must make a fortune as I've sat in a layby opposite one and watched as it took photo after photo of people engaged in sensible and safe overtaking and who were certainly not using any more speed than was necessary for the overtake.

Of course most regular users of the road have caught on to this. Most regular users are also unlikely to drive the whole 120 miles from Perth to Inverness behind a lorry travelling at 45mph, and believe me there are a resonable number of vehicles on that road travelling at 45mph. With this in mind it is impossible but to conclude that drivers are now forced to overtake on corners and other less safe parts of the road.

Another victory for the safety camera partnerships, they must feel so pleased with themselves.
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Old 07 August 2004, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by hedgehog
On the A9 between Perth and Inverness, a road that used to be very "fast" ... By it's nature there are few places where it is safe to overtake and guess where the cameras are located? Correct, right slap bang in the middle of the few good overtaking straights. ... Of course most regular users of the road have caught on to this. Most regular users are also unlikely to drive the whole 120 miles from Perth to Inverness behind a lorry travelling at 45mph, and believe me there are a resonable number of vehicles on that road travelling at 45mph. ...
When travelling up to Inverness I noticed the cameras in the middle of the long straights, and also the signs saying "please be considerate and allow others to overtake" or something to that effect. A little contradictory I thought.
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Old 07 August 2004, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by hedgehog
If the speed limit is 60 then to exceed 60 is breaking the law. That part of it is simple.

The question of what is safe is more interesting however, you could argue that if you were doing 60 and needed to pass a stationary vehicle then the safest thing to do would be to speed up so as to minimise the time spent on the "wrong side" of the road. Clearly there is no question that overtaking a stationary vehicle is necessary and that minimising your time exposed to danger is sensible and a matter of safety to everyone using the road.

On the A9 between Perth and Inverness, a road that used to be very "fast" when it was less crowded, we have seen the introduction of speed cameras. This road is mostly single carriageway and now has a lot of very slow traffic even relative to the 60mph limit. By it's nature there are few places where it is safe to overtake and guess where the cameras are located? Correct, right slap bang in the middle of the few good overtaking straights. These cameras must make a fortune as I've sat in a layby opposite one and watched as it took photo after photo of people engaged in sensible and safe overtaking and who were certainly not using any more speed than was necessary for the overtake.

Of course most regular users of the road have caught on to this. Most regular users are also unlikely to drive the whole 120 miles from Perth to Inverness behind a lorry travelling at 45mph, and believe me there are a resonable number of vehicles on that road travelling at 45mph. With this in mind it is impossible but to conclude that drivers are now forced to overtake on corners and other less safe parts of the road.

Another victory for the safety camera partnerships, they must feel so pleased with themselves.
Good comments.

Went out a few times on my bike with an Advanced Instructor, basically he wouldn't let me exceed the speed limit, except when overtaking on a single carriageway. As hedgehog stated he said its safer as it minimises the risk (being on the wrong side of the road). Obviously doesn't apply to dual carriageways though......
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Old 08 August 2004, 12:50 AM
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Friday night driving home in the scoob 85mph up the A34 at 9pm.
come up to big group of cars,
turns out to be a police car in front doing about 65ish.
nobody wanted to over take him so I went by doing 85 and didn't get pulled


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Old 08 August 2004, 07:28 AM
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Leslie
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According to the strict letter of the law, you may not exceed the speed limit while overtaking. So if you are caught doing that then it is up to the copper concerned whether he books you. Its your decision and your risk.

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Old 08 August 2004, 09:31 PM
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richieh
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should be able to confirm this within the next 4 days or so
did it on a mile long nsl straight only to see the van once i'd got level with the car i was passing
happened obout 10 days ago near grantown on spey
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Old 08 August 2004, 10:19 PM
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It's always a laugh on the m-way passing all the sheep following a traffic car at 65mph as they're ****-scared of overtaking it - I tend to stick to the gps speed readout on the road angel which lets me do a supposedly true 70mph
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Old 09 August 2004, 12:26 AM
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Anyone actually know what year the current speed limits were created. Also how much have cars improved since then in terms of braking, suspension etc. Sounds like they should revisit it all IMHO and work out some new faster limits which are just as safe in a modern car as the current ones were in a 1960's ride.
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Old 09 August 2004, 07:25 AM
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Leslie
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Thats a reasonable point except that the traffic density has increased beyond all expectations and it is not safe under most situations to go faster than the modern speed limits. I think it would be alright to increase motorway speed limits to 85 mph but with stringent penalties for those who broke those limits significantly.

The other thing that has not improved also is the ability of the standard driver to control a car at higher speeds.

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Old 09 August 2004, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Jiggerypokery
... and lane awareness on roundabouts, unlike the police car which took the roundabouts straight.
Nothing wrong with straightening out bends on the open road or on roundabouts - As long as it is safe to do so. IAM test covers taking the "racing line", i.e. the largest diameter circle through a bend to reduce the centrifugal forces on the car.
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Old 09 August 2004, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BedHog
Good comments.

Went out a few times on my bike with an Advanced Instructor, basically he wouldn't let me exceed the speed limit, except when overtaking on a single carriageway. As hedgehog stated he said its safer as it minimises the risk (being on the wrong side of the road). Obviously doesn't apply to dual carriageways though......
Have a look on the SafeSpeed BBS. There are some interesting points about keeping your speed down while overtaking, especially when overtaking horses or slow moving vehciles so as to avoid eating up oncoming traffic's braking space.
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Old 09 August 2004, 10:25 AM
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Quite right OllyK, it is common sense when overtaking to do it quickly and if that involves going a bit over the limit without causing a problem to anyone else, that is usually safer.

The law is not like that of course and if you are caught doing it then you can expect to be prosecuted since it all helps to keep the coffers filled!

As you say, nothing wrong with "taking a line" through the bends as long as you can see far enough ahead. It was always considered good driving in fact in earlier days. I was told once that it was actually recommended in the Police advanced driving manual although I have not seen that myself. It was said to say that it was in order to use the other side of the road to do it as long as it was visually clear.

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Old 09 August 2004, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Leslie
As you say, nothing wrong with "taking a line" through the bends as long as you can see far enough ahead. It was always considered good driving in fact in earlier days. I was told once that it was actually recommended in the Police advanced driving manual although I have not seen that myself. It was said to say that it was in order to use the other side of the road to do it as long as it was visually clear.

Les
Yup - my IAM instructor was a Police driver and that's pretty much what he said as well. If you can see the road is clear then use all of it. I think his words were "You pay enough in road tax so you may as well use as much of the road as you can if it is safe to"
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Old 09 August 2004, 10:44 AM
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I think what has transpired from these discussions is that common sense and real world practicalities are rarely reflected in the law. In general we would expect a police officer to realise this and to ignore safe overtaking even if it did break the strict letter of the law. However, the cameras don't have this common sense approach as they are merely positioned to generate revenue and this is exactly why some of them are positioned in safe overtaking areas, often with artifically low speed limits.

One other thing we need to address, and which even people posting here occasionally fall for, is the point that driving at or within the posted limit does not make you safe. Speed limits are an arbitrary figure and, as has been pointed out, they were reached quite some time ago when technology was must less well developed.

97% of accidents happen to people travelling within the speed limit and so, in truth, there might be some justification for claiming that travelling faster than the speed limit is safer. There is actually some very solid statistical evidence that people who exceed the speed limits by a reasonable margin (i.e. not nutters) tend to have fewer accidents. It is likely that this is down to the fact that such people are matching their speed to the conditions, rather than to the signposts, and so are aware of conditions and what is a safe speed. These same people probably also drive much slower than average under certain circumstances where they are aware of dangers that the "drive by signpost" driver isn't even looking out for.

We really must avoid being sucked into the "speed kills" mantra. Speed doesn't kill but things like inattention do and if you are spending all your time watching your speedo and looking out for signposts and cameras then you are much more likely to have an accident than someone who intelligently matches their speed to the road conditions.
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Old 09 August 2004, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by hedgehog
I think what has transpired from these discussions is that common sense and real world practicalities are rarely reflected in the law. In general we would expect a police officer to realise this and to ignore safe overtaking even if it did break the strict letter of the law. However, the cameras don't have this common sense approach as they are merely positioned to generate revenue and this is exactly why some of them are positioned in safe overtaking areas, often with artifically low speed limits.

One other thing we need to address, and which even people posting here occasionally fall for, is the point that driving at or within the posted limit does not make you safe. Speed limits are an arbitrary figure and, as has been pointed out, they were reached quite some time ago when technology was must less well developed.

97% of accidents happen to people travelling within the speed limit and so, in truth, there might be some justification for claiming that travelling faster than the speed limit is safer. There is actually some very solid statistical evidence that people who exceed the speed limits by a reasonable margin (i.e. not nutters) tend to have fewer accidents. It is likely that this is down to the fact that such people are matching their speed to the conditions, rather than to the signposts, and so are aware of conditions and what is a safe speed. These same people probably also drive much slower than average under certain circumstances where they are aware of dangers that the "drive by signpost" driver isn't even looking out for.

We really must avoid being sucked into the "speed kills" mantra. Speed doesn't kill but things like inattention do and if you are spending all your time watching your speedo and looking out for signposts and cameras then you are much more likely to have an accident than someone who intelligently matches their speed to the road conditions.
(c) Safespeed.org.uk
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