Overtaking and Passing Another Vehicle

California Vehicle Code (CVC) § 21754

A Overtaking and Passing Another Vehicle ticket will cost you $237 and Up in fines plus $1,000+ in insurance hikes and penalties.

Officer issuing Overtaking and Passing Another Vehicle in California

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What is the Proper Way to Overtaking and Pass Another Vehicle

A driver should always use extreme caution when overtaking or passing another vehicle. Often times drivers attempting to execute this move downplay the severity of this maneuver and underestimate the difficulty of passing a fellow motorist. Overtaking another driver should only be done if you are absolutely positive you can overtake the vehicle without endangering any other drivers or pedestrians.

Here are the different scenarios in which a driver might attempt to pass another vehicle.

  • Multiple Lane - This is the most common form of passing and usually takes place on a highway, freeway or interstate. Multiple lanes allow a driver to engage a single lane without risking a head-on collision. It is also the safest was to pass another vehicle.
  • Dashed Line - Passing another vehicle on a single lane road usually involves a dashed line. Dashed lines are present when a clear unobstructed portion of the roadway is present and the driver can see clearly a fair distance in front of them. Passing on a dashed line usually requires the overtaking vehicle to briefly travel in a lane designed for another direction of travel. This can be extremely dangerous unless the drivers has plenty of time and roadway ahead of them to execute the pass.
  • Double Yellow - Should only be executed if trying to avoid an accident or livestock on the roadway. Double yellow passing is extremely dangerous and should never be executed unless absolutely necessary.

Judging the Gap Can be Difficult

If you are considering passing another vehicle you must correctly analyze the gap between your vehicle and the other traveling in your general vicinity. Often times drivers find themselves in trouble due to a visual miscalculation of the actual distance.

A good rule of thumb is if you are unsure of the distance do not attempt to overtake or pass another vehicle

The risk is usually not worth the reward and safety is the most important factor when driving an automobile.

One of the most difficult aspects of driving is learning how to safely interact with other vehicles on the roadway. The laws set out in the California Vehicle Code exist to ensure we are all on the same page, but differing driving styles and levels of experience still arise.

When drivers encounter another vehicle who is driving slower than their desired pace or impeding their route, they often decide to pass them. Depending on where and how this pass is executed, the action may violation CVC 21754.

Overtaking and Passing is not Clear-Cut

Under California Vehicle Code Section 21754, you can only pass vehicles on the right under certain circumstances:

  1. The other vehicle is making a left turn
  2. It is a one-way street or roadway
  3. The road is striped for 2 or more lanes
  4. On a divided highway with traffic moving in the same direction on each side

You may not use the shoulder to pass, though bicycles are permitted to do so.

However, the law is not necessarily cut and dry. For instance, was the street wide enough to accommodate two vehicles? Did the motorist in front of you signal to make a left turn and then change his mind? Also, was the roadway sufficiently marked? In some cases, the motorist in front of you may have even pulled over to let you pass.

These and any other reasons for why you passed a car on the right may have been missed by the officer who cited you. The circumstances pertaining to your case are significant. On the roadway the officer has the discretion to cite you for the violation based on their perception, but our team is here to hear you out.

If you received a citation of this nature, give our team a call to discuss your case or take advantage of our free citation review.