Overtaking can be a tricky manoeuvre, so the first thing we do is ask ourselves three questions: Is it legal? Is it safe? Is it necessary?
If you can say yes to these three questions, then you must always follow the Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look routine. In these circumstances “Position” is the first point to be considered. You must be a couple of car lengths at least behind the target vehicle. This will give you a good zone of vision so that you can anticipate if you have enough time and space. Also, you must at least match the speed of the target vehicle. Then you look into your mirrors to make sure that it’s safe and, if necessary, apply a signal. You may need to drop to a lower gear in anticipation of overtaking to give you sufficient power reserve to complete the manoeuvre. Then you will need to take a smooth line, i.e. moving out early in a shallow curve rather than suddenly veering to your right. As you are overtaking the target vehicle you should allow at least a metre clearance. (Imagine the driver’s door is open.) Once past the target vehicle you revert back to MSPSL to return to your normal driving position. The problem here is the danger of cutting in on the target vehicle. As a guide, you should wait until the whole of the target vehicle is visible in your rear view mirror before doing so, then checking your near side mirror for any dangers such as motor cycles that may be coming up on your left. You should then apply a signal if necessary before moving back to your normal driving position. Finally, another look in all three mirrors will keep you aware of what is around and behind you.