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Behind-the-Wheel

Passing Speed Limit

Q: If I decide to pass another vehicle who is going slower than the posted speed limit, lets just say 96 kph and the speed limit being 100 kph, what speed can I accelerate to without getting a speeding ticket? If I passed at 100 kph it would take a while to pass, thus being in the oncoming traffic for a considerable distance. If you were witnessing this event, at what speed would I have to attain before you pull me over? Whenever I pass I mostly step on the gas and overtake him as fast as I can then slow down when the pass is completed.

A: There are many factors required to passing on the left a slower moving vehicle. The speed of the vehicle which is being passed. The type of lines on the roadway. The roadway conditions which includes roadway surface, length of roadway required to pass and oncoming traffic present. In order to legally pass a slower moving vehicle, a driver is not suppose to exceed the posted speed limit while passing.

Highway lines
Section 155 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that despite anything in this Part, if a highway is marked with
(a) a solid double line, the driver of a vehicle must drive it to the right of the line only,
(b) a double line consisting of a broken line and a solid line,
(I) the driver of a vehicle proceeding along the highway on the side of the broken line must drive the vehicle to the right of the double line, except when passing an overtaken vehicle, and
(ii) the driver of a vehicle proceeding along the highway on the side of the solid line must drive the vehicle to the right of the double line, except only when finishing the passing of an overtaken vehicle, and
(c) one single line, broken or solid, the driver of a vehicle must drive the vehicle to the right of the line, except only when passing an overtaken vehicle.
(2) Subsection (1) (b) (I) and (c) do not apply if a driver is avoiding an obstruction on the highway and first ascertains that the movement can be made with safety and without affecting the travel of any other vehicle.

Duty when overtaking
Section 157 (1) of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that except as provided in section 158, the driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle
(a) must cause the vehicle to pass to the left of the other vehicle at a safe distance, and
(b) must not cause or permit the vehicle to return to the right side of the highway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle.
(2) Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, a driver of an overtaken vehicle,
(a) on hearing an audible signal given by the driver of the overtaking vehicle, must cause the vehicle to give way to the right in favour of the overtaking vehicle, and
(b) must not increase the speed of the vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

Passing on left
Section 159 of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that a driver of a vehicle must not drive to the left side of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the driver can do so in safety.

Clear view on passing
Section 160 of the Motor Vehicle Act indicates that a driver of a vehicle must not drive to or on the left side of the roadway, other than on a one way highway, unless the driver has a clear view of the roadway for a safe distance, having regard for all the circumstances.

Constable R.A.(Richard) ASELTON
Central Okanagan Traffic Services - Media Liaison
Kelowna R.C.M.P. Detachment


More Behind the Wheel articles

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About the Author

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. He has been writing his column for most of the 20 years of his service in the RCMP.

The column was 'The Beat Goes On' in Fort St. John, 'Traffic Tips' in the South Okanagan and now 'Behind the Wheel' on Vancouver Island and here on Castanet.net.

Schewe retired from the force in January of 2006, but the column has become a habit, and continues.

To comment, please email

To learn more, visit DriveSmartBC



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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