Overtaking slower vehicles on a 2-lane highway

semi tractor trailer driving on the highway in the evening

Simply put, passing traffic in a 2-lane road should be avoided at all costs. Very few voluntary choices we make carry the potential for disaster as overtaking slower vehicles on a 2-lane highway. Highway 11 through northern Ontario is a notoriously dangerous highway for overtaking accidents. It is a heavily used highway, preferred by newer, less experienced drivers as it is relatively flat, and has quite a few passing lanes. Still, there are stretches of this, and many other 2 lane highways where traffic can back up behind much slower traffic. During the winter months, this is far more often the norm, rather than the exception. People get impatient being stuck behind slower traffic and attempt to pass when they can’t see far enough ahead to know for certain the maneuver can be made successfully. I can’t count the times I’ve had to stand on the brakes because someone was passing me where they shouldn’t, be it climbing a hill with no passing lane, approaching a curve in the road, or in inclement weather. My rule of thumb for passing where there is no passing lane is, the traffic I want to overtake must be moving at least 10 km/h slower than myself and I need to see at least 2 miles of the road ahead clear of on coming traffic before I will even consider overtaking.

Another overtaking issue that I see quite often involves passing lanes. When a passing lane ends, do you know which lane has the right of way?  According to the highway traffic act, if you have to cross the dotted line to stay on the highway, you MUST yield the right of way.  If you are in the right lane and a faster truck is attempting to pass, take your foot of the throttle, and let him pass, or, if there is a long line of vehicles attempting to pass, slow down and let them go by, then pick up your speed again. Over the course of a day, this might cost you a whole 3-5 minutes. If you catch someone going 5 km/h slower than you, and you can’t get around them, find a truck stop and take a 15-minutes break. That will let them get 25 kms ahead of you, and it will be at least another 5 hours until you catch up to them again.