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Undertaking by default

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  • 26-12-2022 11:32am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,091 ✭✭✭


    This is a scenario that comes up quite a lot when driving on motorways.

    Lets say I'm driving in left-most lane (as everyone should unless overtaking), and up ahead there's a car cruising along at a lower speed in the middle lane but not overtaking anyone.

    Am I entitled to continue in the left lane and undertake?

    If not, I'd have to move to middle lane, then right lane, then back to middle lane and back to left lane when the car has been overtaken.

    What if the other car was in the right lane? Would I (and everyone else who comes up behind us) have to just follow them in the right lane indefinitely until they moved into the middle lane?



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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,324 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig


    That is my understanding although it is fuzzy as you are allowed undertake in the event traffic in the lane to the right of you is moving slower than the traffic in your lane.

    This exact situation happened me on the way home last (as it does regularly) and I just kept in my lane and undertook. I am more hyper aware as I do it in case the car suddenly decides to move into the lane he should have been in the first place.

    I would be interested in hearing from other posters



  • Registered Users Posts: 612 ✭✭✭steinbock123


    I do this all the time. Too many idiots tootling along in the fast lane 20 or 30 KPH under the speed limit. They never look in the mirror. Worst case scenario is one articulated truck doing 81KPH overtaking another one doing 80KPH, this manoeuvre can seem to take miles to complete, meanwhile there’s a queue of cars building up behind. Why can’t the truck being overtaken just lift off for ten seconds and let the other one pass him quickly.

    I am very conscious on all sorts of roads what is in the rear view mirror, if I’m on a B-road and a car comes up behind me obviously going faster, I’ll pull in and let him pass at the first available opportunity.

    And while I’m on a rant here, I have to wonder why it is that in this country we call them motorways? A proper motorway will have at least three lanes. Very few of them here in Ireland. The majority of our so-called “ motorways” are merely good dual carriageways.

    Happy New Year, this hangover will pass 😀



  • Registered Users Posts: 35 Grandad99


    My understanding is you can only undertake in the limited circumstances listed in the rules of the road where it says;

    ''REMEMBER You must normally overtake on the right. However, you are allowed to overtake on the left in the situations listed below. You may overtake on the left when You want to go straight ahead. when the driver in front of you has moved out and signalled that they intend to turn right. You have signalled that you intend to turn left. Traffic in both lanes is moving slowly but traffic in the left-hand lane is moving more quickly than the right-hand lane – for example, in slowmoving stop-start traffic.''

    A car doing 80kmh in the middle or outer lane in a 100kmh zone is not slow moving stop-start traffic.

    Motorway rules say;

    ''Overtaking: Overtake only on the right, unless traffic is travelling in slow moving queues and the traffic queue on your right is travelling more slowly than you are.''

    Again a car doing 80 kmh in the middle or outer lane in a 100 kmh zone could not reasonably be considered as a slow moving queue.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,813 ✭✭✭CrabRevolution


    "Motorways have 3 lanes" sounds like a made up requirement.

    Everywhere you look for a definition of a motorway it either doesn't mention lanes, or specifies 2 or more lanes.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Yeah, usual boards.ie made up shite posted as fact.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,930 ✭✭✭✭Del2005


    On either side of rush hour it regularly happens that all the lanes on a motorway are full of traffic travelling at 80km/h or more. If people followed the law then every lane can only travel at the speed of the overtaking lane, this is obviously stupid and impossible to do. Our law on passing on the left is a joke since the keep left law is ignored.

    Recently I was joining a dual carriageway and a car in the driving lane wasn't letting me merge, which they don't need to do, so I braked and joined behind them at ~10km/h below the limit. They then signalled to the right and moved to an empty overtaking lane as I kept driving ~5km/h below the limit in the empty driving lane, they disappeared from my mirror driving in an empty overtaking lane and no vehicles were in the driving lane. According to the law I'm the dangerous driver!



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,368 ✭✭✭iwillhtfu


    This has to be one of the most annoying traits of a majority of Irish drivers. Merge to a three lane motorway or national rod and then straight into the middle if not the right lane.

    More often than not I find the left lane the quicker and least stressful to drive in. I also ignore the idiots that choose not to use the left lane and carry on as if they aren't there but obviously aware said idiot might remember the rotr suddenly and swerve into the left lane. I'm sure it's not law but I'd consider undertaking to be moving from your lane to a left lane then back into the lane you were in in front o the car you passed. I'll typically drive in the left lane till I need to pass then use the right lanes as required and back to the left lane.

    As I heard someone refer to them before the capable drivers lane, the social media lane and the road rage lane. 🤷‍♂️



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,084 ✭✭✭✭wrangler



    When can you overtake on the left?

    a. When the driver in front of you is turning right.

    b. When you intend turning left.

    c. When the vehicles in the lane to your right are moving more slowly than you



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,748 ✭✭✭FortuneChip


    The rules on overtaking on the right are clear enough.

    Personally though, if I'm in the OP's situation - I will continue in the lane I'm in, and be mindful of any potential sudden activity of the driver in the middle lane.

    I'm not making four lane changes to negotiate a car that isn't following typical motorway behaviour. I think that stands to open up more potential risks.

    It may not fall within the exact rules of the road regarding overtaking, but I believe in this circumstance, it's the safest way to progress my trip.



  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,054 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    @steinbock123: Too many idiots tootling along in the fast lane 20 or 30 KPH under the speed limit.

    Sigh! 😟

    @wrangler: c. When the vehicles in the lane to your right are moving more slowly than you

    The law does not state that!



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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,860 ✭✭✭✭Larbre34


    Motorway driving can be boring, if its quiet. If I'm in Lane 1 doing the speed limit and I encounter a car in Lane 2, doing say 100, I make a point of making the two manoeuvres into Lane 2, then 3, then overtaking, and returning to Lane 1 and I make bloody sure the other driver sees it.

    If the motorway is busier, I have no problem undertaking in the primary lane if it happens under reasonable progress. You will NEVER be pulled up for that.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,324 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig


    Relax. I said it was my understanding and would like to hear from others.

    Chill out and comment.

    Your last para has me confused though. If someone was overtaking a lorry how would someone undertake without driving through the lorry? If you are mid overtake of a lorry and have a blow out the chances are that you will need to let the lorry move on before trying to get to the hard shoulder.

    Either way in the instance I described there was no lorry. There were 2 cars mine and the guy in the middle lane going at 90 on the M50.

    Incidentally he had passed me at 120 a few mins before that.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,084 ✭✭✭✭wrangler


    Passing on the left is allowed in the rules of the road. providing it's safe to do so,

    but even if you're passing on the right there's idiots that don't use mirrors or indicators and cut you off

    I doubt if a guard is going to summons you for passing on the left with it being allowed in the rules of the road.



  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,054 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    Passing on the left is allowed in the rules of the road. providing it's safe to do so,

    The ROTR is not a legal document.

    Would you like to pull out the actual legislation on this?

    Edit: actually here it is...

    Section 10 (5)

    (5) A driver may only overtake on the left—


    ( a ) where the driver of the vehicle about to be overtaken has signalled an intention to turn to the right and the driver of the overtaking vehicle intends, after overtaking, to go straight ahead or to turn to the left,


    ( b ) where the driver of the overtaking vehicle intends, after overtaking, to turn left at the next road junction and has signalled this intention,


    ( c ) in slow moving traffic, when vehicles in the traffic lane on the driver's right are moving more slowly than the overtaking vehicle.


    but even if you're passing on the right there's idiots that don't use mirrors or indicators and cut you off

    ...and what? It's irrelevant to the discussion about passing on the left.

    I doubt if a guard is going to summons you for passing on the left with it being allowed in the rules of the road.

    When it comes to the Road Traffic Acts, there is a huge amount that the gardai choose not to enforce. It is partly why there is so much crap driving evident on our roads.



  • Registered Users Posts: 11,084 ✭✭✭✭wrangler


    In special circumstances, passing on he left is not illegal. use your common sense



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Music Moderators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,360 CMod ✭✭✭✭Dravokivich


    I always go across to the third lane, overtake and back into the first again. If there's only 2 lanes. I keep back in the first lane.

    Overtaking on the right just creates too much risk. Call it "common sense" if you want.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,609 ✭✭✭zg3409


    I try to do the right thing. I used to flash cars in the overtaking lane when they were clearly not overtaking and there was another lane they could safely move into but I found over the years this is more dangerous as often they ignore me, then if I undertake them they might by accident or deliberately change into the "slow lane" and block me or nearly crash into me. I found it is safer to ignore them and undertake with caution.

    It may be illegal and it's not done or normal in UK. In European countries especially Italy sitting in overtaking lane is not at all tolerated. They start flashing from hundreds of metres away.

    I once flashed the hell out of a car in overtaking lane with nothing in slow lane and it turned out to be unmarked Garda car. They put on their lights, then did not stop me, they just wanted to show they could do what they like!



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    If someone is driving at 80kph in the middle lane when the speed limit is 100kph, by definition, aren't they slow moving traffic?



  • Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 39,054 Mod ✭✭✭✭Seth Brundle


    What I think isn't important. It might be a judge that you have to convince!



  • Registered Users Posts: 9,259 ✭✭✭markpb


    There’s a difference between slow and slower. What if someone is driving at 120 in the middle lane and I want to undertake at 180, are they slow traffic too?



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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,896 ✭✭✭✭Spook_ie


    Slow traffic 80kph in the middle lane is more likely to get a "driving without due care" warning/prosecution driving at 180kph is more likely to get you a speeding/dangerous driving charge.



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,272 ✭✭✭✭blanch152


    Exactly my point.

    The problem is that there are two types of Irish drivers who are the root of the issue.

    The first group think they can hog the middle lane at 80kph in a 100kph zone. The second group think that they can travel at 150kph no matter the speed limit. Eliminate both and we would have sensible driving.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,472 ✭✭✭Grolschevik


    Wouldn't sensible driving dictate that almost everyone drive in the leftmost driving lane at more or less the speed limit?

    So, in this"ideal world", we'd have a road-train of vehicles doing the limit in the left lane, with any overtaking lanes empty?

    Does anyone actually want that?



  • Registered Users Posts: 714 ✭✭✭GSBellew


    You're supposed to overtake on the right....

    Keep Left, Pass Right as it was in the old days.



  • Registered Users Posts: 714 ✭✭✭GSBellew


    As a side note to my above comment, where I assume the poster was confused with left and right.

    I keep left with the intention of passing on the right, but if I am sitting at 120 kmph in the left lane and closing on a slower moving vehicle in the right hand lane (2 lane motorway) while my lane is clear I will remain in my lane, but remain wary of the other driver merging left. I used to enter the right lane and sit behind, but it never dawns on the driver.

    If I am on the M50 and there is a slower moving vehicle in the middle lane, when it is clear to do so I will go to the third lane, far right, pass and move far left in front of them, more often that not they seem to follow suit into the far left lane if you watch your mirrors.

    Yes, passing on the left is wrong (excluding limited scenarios) but so is being in the wrong lane, so if you are one of the drivers who gets thick when someone passes on your left, remember that if you were in the correct lane they couldn't pass on the left.



  • Registered Users Posts: 246 ✭✭User142


    Everyone sitting slowly in the left lane so the VIPs among us can use lane 2 and 3 at the speed limit at all times no matter the traffic volumes.



  • Registered Users Posts: 28,736 ✭✭✭✭_Kaiser_


    This one comes up regularly in Motors with the same argument about slow/slower too.

    To me it's very simple - you overtake on the right unless you're in SLOW stop-start/congested traffic where you can pass on the left. This is not the same thing as passing a car doing 80, or 100 in the middle lane of a 120 limit motorway.

    I don't get why this is so difficult to grasp?

    The main advocates seem to be those who think they're being "clever" undertaking all the "eejits" in the middle or right lanes. This is grand until one of those pulls left on top of them without looking because they weren't expecting to be undertaken from the left (two wrongs don't make a right)



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,183 ✭✭✭highdef


    Hearses are the closest things to undertakers on the roads!

    You overtake, whether it be on the left or the right. I cannot understand how people associate "undertaking" with overtaking on the left when overtake means to pass someone ahead of you moving in the same direction. Whether you pass on the left or the right, you're still overtaking and NEVER undertaking. "Undertake" in the driving sense is completely non-sensical.

    When I saw "Undertaking by default" as a the title topic, I really did think the OP had accidently posted in the incorrect section!



  • Registered Users Posts: 24,296 ✭✭✭✭lawred2


    A two lane Motorway and a two lane dual carriageway are completely different things.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 24,296 ✭✭✭✭lawred2


    Same dawdling eejit is probably just as likely to pull right without looking if they happily pull left without looking.



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