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Motors and Cars

Overtaking can be one of the most dangerous driving maneuvers, yet the skills it requires are seldom taught.

Choosing an appropriate place to overtake is critical, especially at night. Avoid overtaking in hazards, be patient and do not take unnecessary risks. If you are approaching a town or a dual carriageway for example, overtaking may be pointless.

Early planning, good observation skills and accurate judgment of speed and distance are essential, as is a safe and reliable method. The objective should be to overtake in total safety.

The correct technique can be split into two distinct stages.

Your speed and available performance (know your vehicle). The speed and performance of the ‘target’ vehicle to be overtaken. Think of the consequences if the driver accelerates as you try to pass.

Approaching vehicles and the potential for others, as yet unseen, to come into the decision-making process.

Road conditions and hazards indicates by signs and markings.

Distance available to regain the nearside of the carriageway without causing concern to other road users or forcing them to alter speed or direction.

Can total safety be achieved? If in doubt, the only safe decision is not to overtake.

The second stage is the “overtaking triangle” technique, which maximizes safety for all concerned. Imagine your starting point as the bottom left-hand corner of a long, narrow triangle: one side is the forward path of the target vehicle, the second is your sideways move into the right-hand lane; the third is your path past the target and back into the nearside lane. Here’s how it works:

1. Hang well back from the target vehicle and position yourself to gain maximum forward visibility. The closer you are to the vehicle in front, the less you can see. Include views past the left of the target, as well as the right. A view underneath the vehicle may also be available.

2. Select the appropriate gear for best acceleration and engine response.

3. Check your mirrors and start signaling well before commencing any maneuver.

4. Still hanging back, move a little; to the right-hand side of the carriageway for a good look at the road ahead. Do not start accelerating as you pull out: this will leave you alongside the target with nowhere to go if anything unexpected happens.

5. Holding your position in the right-hand lane, confirm that conditions are acceptable before committing yourself with acceleration. Ensure that your view is clear, that there are no potential hazards ahead and that there is adequate space to complete the overtake safely; do not overtake into closing gap. If in doubt, you can return safely to the nearside lane and go back to stage one.

6. Overtake as quickly as possible, taking into account the road surface condition and vehicle performance. Gear changing is to be avoided during the maneuver: both hands should be on the steering wheel in case unexpected action is necessary, and you don’t want to risk a fumbled gear change. Don’t accelerate for too long; as soon as you have the momentum to carry you safely past the target, consider your speed in relation to the next hazard you will encounter.

7. Never cut in after overtaking as this can seem aggressive and may cause confrontation. Instead, return smoothly to the nearside and give the driver a friendly wave of thanks for his co-operation.

8. Motto: if in doubt, do not overtake.

Take care and stay safe.



Maneuver -маневр

To overtake – догнать, настичь, перегнать

Hazard - риск

Carriageway – трасса, шоссе

Safety - безопасность

Gear – коробка передач

Acceleration – превышение, увеличение

Target - цель

Steering wheel- руль

Smoothly – гладко, ровно


Vocabulary exercises:

Exercise1. Find the following English equivalents in the text:

Очень важно, увеличить скорость, путь свободен, не рискуйте, дорожные условия, переключение передач, вызывать неудобства препятствие, обгон, ускорение, срезать угол, передача, руль, технические возможности, держаться сзади


Exercise2. Read the Rules of overtaking again. Try to remember them. Put aside the text and try to recollect them, using the following words:

Hang back, to gain maximum forward visibility, views past the left and the right of the target, select the gear, acceleration, to signal before starting the manoeuvre, move to the side of the carriage way, pull out, commit oneself with acceleration, adequate space to complete the overtake, overtake quickly, road surface condition, vehicle, performance, gear changing – to avoid, have the momentum, never cut in.

Exercise3. Complete the sentences:

1. Early planning, good observation skills and … are essential.

2. Think of the consequences if the driver … as you try to … .

3. The second stage is the overtaking triangle technique, which ….

4. “The closer you are to the vehicle in front, the …”.

5. Select the appropriate gear … .

6. Check your mirrors … .

7. Do not start … as you pull out, this will leave you … with nowhere to go if … .

8. Confirm that … before committing yourself with acceleration.

9. Ensure that your … is clear, that there are no … ahead.

10. Do not overtake into … .

11. Gear changing is … during the maneuver.

12. Never … after overtaking. Instead, return … to the nearside.


Exercise4. Choose pairs of synonyms out of the following list:

Pointless fluid senseless nasty

Hazard risk bombast strategy

Performance calendar characteristics tariff

Target anticipation objective tanzy

Momentum impetus blunt analogy

Acceleration increase bog boil

Carriageway road haunt

Topical vocabulary:

Means of transport:a cruise, a submarine, a moped, an airship, a canoe, a rowing boat, a barge, a van, a rocket, a liner, a jeep, a tram, a helicopter, a jet, a double-decker bus, a yacht, a glider, a hot-air balloon, passenger jet / airplane, flight ship, coach / bus, vehicle, jag

Part of transport: a compartment, a bonnet, an engine, a cockpit, an aisle, a motor, gear

Stations:arailway station, an airport, a boarding ticket, a bus station,adeparture lounge, a buffet car, a sundeck, a quayside, a platform, a departure gate, port, a gangway

People:acaptain, a bus driver, an engine driver, a flight attendant, a steward, a conductor

Verbs:toset sail, to pull in, to take off, to trek, to hunt, to snowboard, parachuting, to raft, to camp, to catch / get on, to get off, to journey, to arrive, to get on / board, to get off / disembark, to embark, voyage, to leave, to go on business trip, to accelerate, to reduce, to overtake, to increase, to hitch-hike

Vocabulary exercises:

Exercise1. Which form of transport – train, car, boat or plane – do you associate with each of the words and phrase below?

1. set sail 6. fast line 11. quayside

2. a cruise 7. to indicate 12. mid-air collision

3. traffic jam 8. sundeck 13.departure lounge

4. compartment 9. commuter 14. buffet car

5. bonnet 10. take off 15. pull in


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