Ask a Question

Under what circumstances is undertaking legal?

When did the law on undertaking change? Many years ago I was driving a gutless Austin A60 automatic near Birmingham on a three-lane motorway. I was following a truck on the nearside lane. The truck changed to a lorry-only lane, I was left looking at an empty lane with the second and third lanes full of crawling cars. By the time I had slowed to their speed, I had passed five cars, including a police car. I was fined £60 and had three points on my license.

Asked on by

Nowhere is it stated that passing vehicles on their nearside is actually illegal and this has been tested in court. There is no specific law against it. You can quote “rules” as much as you like. Traffic police can express “opinions” that a driver was driving "dangerously" if he moves from a right-hand lane to a left-hand lane to pass another vehicle and a magistrate might accept this, but it's not illegal to pass on the nearside when staying in lane, and in many circumstances it makes far more sense and is far safer than attempting to pass a slower moving vehicle on the offside. What could be more stupid on a five lane motorway than moving from lane one to lane five, then back to lane one to pass a dawdler in lane four?
Similar questions
I make the following points in relation to the debate about motorway driving. Lane hogging in any lane other than the inner lane is bad driving practice. Outside lane hoggers are the greatest danger for...
I noted your reply to JA, Peacehaven and was a bit concerned that your readers may not have understood your point. The Highway Code and the Road Traffic Act are quite clear and that is that passing on...
You have often said that undertaking is not against the law but, according to the local press, Greater Manchester police is starting a campaign to catch people doing so. I would be interested on your thoughts....

Ask Honest John

Value my car