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Sep 07

Posts: 2827

James600zx says:

Invited to undertake.

What do you do when you come up behind cars in the outside lane of a motorway and they indicate right?

Do you accept their invitation to undertake, appreciating their courtesy and awareness?

Or do you point to the left lane and wait for the lazy buggers to move over like they're supposed to?

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  • Posted 4 years ago (25 June 2011 12:37)

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Apr 09

Posts: 908

m1ks says:


Undertaking is a job entailing the preperation and presentation of dead bodies prior to burial.
What you're referring to is 'overtaking on the inside'

It is, other than one or two exceptional circumstances, illegal!
Plain and simple, if you do it, you're breaking the law, if seen you will be pulled aside from teh fact that you're putting yourself at a greater than usual risk.

At the end of the day 70mph in the outside lane is what they are supposed to be doing.


No, it isn't.
The only lane on a dual carriageway or a motorway that you should continuously travel in at speeds around 70mph is the inside lane, the middle and outer lanes are overtaking lanes, they are for the sole purpose of passing slower vehicles, not for sitting in at any speed.
(excepting short stretches where a motorway splits and to continue on one motorway you select the middle lane until it feeds back into it's own dedicated road)
It's a sad fact that plenty of company car rep types hog the middle lane plodding on at 80 thinking this is perfectly acceptable. Unfortunately it's such a commonly occuring thing that unless someones causing a blockage or problem the police won't intervene and they let people continue leading to the frustration of some people deciding to overtake on the inside.

Like others, i've never experienced this, i've had drivers deliberately move over to the right and refuse to let me pass, I even had one sitting there in standing traffic shaking his head, 'no', after he'd ignored my throttle blips, headlight flashing and progressed to giving a beep of the horn, he was stuck in the traffic, I had room to filter, he didn't want me to becuase some people are mardy arsed tossers.

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Jul 11

Posts: 244

MakemRider says:


Undertaking is illeagal, there are NO exceptions. The one or two situations m1ks refers to are not undertaking even though you pass vehicles in the lane to the right of your position.

Unless they are in a line of traffic in the outside lane & hastling the vehicle in front (in which case they themselves are likely to undertake taking you out as you undertake) then they are probably not taking much notice of what's going on (or they would have cancelled their indicator) so may well just return to the lane on their left without looking again taking you out as you undertake.

Even driving at 70 mph in the outside lane you could be charged (I believe it's driving without due consideration to other road users) if you could move over to a lane on you left but remain there to prevent others from exceeding the speed limit.

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Nov 11

Posts: 203

jimbo8098 says:


Its something (as this thread shows) that is heavily debated. I feel that , if someone is doing 30 in a 40 (I dont normally drive on motorways but apply it there if you wish) in the overtaking lane , they shouldnt be there (as shown by the highway code , "keep left") unless there is a good reason for it (avoiding road works maybe? what am i saying? This is the UK , they dont do road works here :lol:) . If someone insists on staying in the overtaking lane doing well below the limit , why is it illegal to overtake them? Sitting behind them will only cause backlogs and really , they are breaking the law too. undertaking is dangerous , i agree , but at the same time  , so is a backlog of traffic.

If you are willing to bet your life on them staying in that lane then go ahead , should be allowed to do it , but on your head be it of course.

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Apr 10

Posts: 22

macca59 says:

Highway code.

Being overtaken. If a driver is trying to overtake you, maintain a steady course and speed, slowing down if necessary to let the vehicle pass. Never obstruct drivers who wish to pass. Speeding up or driving unpredictably while someone is overtaking you is dangerous. Drop back to maintain a two-second gap if someone overtakes and pulls into the gap in front of you.


The above clip is taken from the Highway code on the Government site. Say's it all really. I dont condone undertaking but at the same time idiot car driver's should read and digest.

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Apr 10

Posts: 22

macca59 says:

Highway code passing on the left.

  • stay in your lane if traffic is moving slowly in queues. If the queue on your right is moving more slowly than you are, you may pass on the left

    And this one, also in Highway code.

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    Jan 10

    Posts: 26

    oldenuff says:

    Is this overtaking on the inside

    I have often wondered what the position is if the outside lane on a motorway slows down due to a problem further upstream and the middle lane then undertakes. I cannot imagine that the middle lane should slow to the pace of the outer lane but I am not really sure. 

    In the case discussed if I am in the middle lane, and have been for a while, with a number of other vehicles, doing 65 and come across someone in the outside lane doing 60 do we all slow down?
    Is it really that laned roads behave differently e.g. middle lane can travel faster than the outer lane and what is not allowed is to turn left behind a slower vehicle and then turn right in front of him?

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    Jul 11

    Posts: 244

    MakemRider says:


    As Macca says, it is legal & mentioned in the HC (HC Rule 163) that if the lane to your right is moving more slowly you may pass on the left. This is not undertaking (unless you move to the faster left lane, pass, then move back which is undertaking).

    Think of 'undertaking' as a means to pass the vehicle in front by passing it on the left.

    Think of 'passing on the left' as making progress in YOUR LANE which is moving quicker than the queue in other lanes to your right. IMHO it is the word 'queue' that changes it from undertaking to passing on the left.

    The grey area would be (again my opinion) when you are doing 70 in lane 1 and there is a single vehicle in lane 2 doing 60. I would 'remain in lane' & pass with caution on the understanding that this may be illegal but the alternative would be to slow down to 60, and wait till the idiot moved to the left.

    HC Rule 163 sets out the only occasion (that I know of) where overtaking (not undertaking) on the left is permitted and that is when the vehicle is indicating to turn right & there is room to do so.


    [This Reply has been modified by the Author]

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    Jan 12

    Posts: 25

    DazzleRebel says:

    Did this today

    Although the twat sat in the outside lane was doing 65 while THREE other lanes were clear, he also didn't indicate and was completely oblivious to his mirrors because I was flashing like pervert on Clapham Common and didn't see him glance in his mirror once!

    In this case I moved into the inside lane (two lanes away from the moron) and cruised past at 70 with one eye on the fool (my eyes are like chameleonswhen I'm on the motorway and can split them in many directions!).  Next thing I know blue lights flash behind me and a crap my pants - knowing full well that I was in the right because all I was doing was keeping left and at national speed limit.  My fears were abated when I realised they were trying to get the moron in the outside lane to move over - again he was completely oblivous to the flashing blue lights (and eventually loud siren) behing him.

    The last thing I noticed before shifting my concentration onto the overtaking lorries I was approaching was the unmarked cop car overtaking the twat on the left, trying to get his attention.  I don't know how it ended but I really hope the copper gave him a right rollocking.

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    Apr 12

    Posts: 9

    marnold17 says:


    im in the process of doing my das course, i own and run a cbf125 which i use for commuting into london when i can, however in some instances when i cant use the bike and have to take a van into town i have found myself in the outside lane stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, the route i use is a busy bike route and i have given two well spaced flashes of my right indicator to give notice to filtering bikes that i have seen them and am aware they are there they are ok to pass ME, i dont know what the car to my left will do as much as i dont know what the car in frint of me has intention to do. the reason i do this is to make the biker aware i know he is there, he will take the opportunity to undertake or not, his choice. the traffic is usually stop start (ish) on this route so may not be full flowing but if i believe he can see my signal i will show it while driving as right as is safe for the speed im travelling. i just see it as a common courtesy.

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    May 12

    Posts: 1

    johnburfy says:


    Giving in to their invitation is too risky..its better to be patient

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