Do You Know the Traffic Law for Safe Passing in California?
It is frustrating when you are in a hurry and the driver in front of you refuses even drive at the speed limit. You want to pass the vehicle so that you can be on your way. However, if you pass the vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of the other vehicles, you may receive an expensive ticket under California Vehicle Code 21750.
According to CVC 21750, when you are overtaking a vehicle traveling in the same direction, you must pass to the left of the vehicle “at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle.”
The code section specifically states that this provision is subject to exceptions and limitations outlined in the other sections within the article.
Specific Laws Related to Passing Other Vehicles
It is important to understand the traffic laws related to passing other vehicles exist so that you do not endanger yourself or others. In addition, you want to know whether or not a police officer had a valid reason for issuing a traffic ticket for a passing violation.
Some of the important rules for passing vehicles include:
In addition to the above traffic rules related to passing vehicles, there are other sections related to passing streetcars, interurban electric car, and horse-drawn vehicle. Also, when you are passing a bicycle, you must leave at least three feet between your vehicle and the bicycle.
- CVC 21751 — If you are driving on a two-lane highway, you can pass on the left side of the center line only if you can clearly see that the lane is clear of oncoming traffic. The lane must be clear for a sufficient distance to allow you the distance and time to pass the vehicle safely.
- CVC 21752 — You are not permitted to drive on the left side of the road when you are approaching a curve or grade that does not provide sufficient visibility to avoid creating a hazard when passing. Driving in the left lane is also prohibited when approaching within 100 feet or an intersection, railroad grade crossing, tunnel, bridge, or viaduct. This section does not apply to one-way roads.
- CVC 21754 — You may pass on the right side of the road if a vehicle is making a left turn; on a highway that has sufficient room for two or more cars to the right; on a one-way street; or, on a highway divided into two roadways when the traffic is restricted to one direction.
- CVC 21755 — You cannot pass a vehicle on the right if you must leave the pavement or main-traveled portion of the road.
Consequences for Unsafe Passing
Failing to pass a vehicle safely can have severe consequences and can endanger yourself and other drivers. If an officer witnesses what they believe to be an unsafely executed pass, the violator will face a minimum fine of $237 plus a point added to their driving record.
If you were cited for an unsafe passing violation, either under CVC 21750 or any other vehicle code you see here, reach out to our knowledgable team to understand your options. You can also submit your citation for a free ticket review.