Steps to overtaking
There will become times when it is necessary to overtake slow moving vehicles as following traffic will want to make progress and if you are too cautious you will make the situation more hazardous as vehicles behind will then need to overtake both you and the vehicle ahead. You should follow the M-S-M routine possibly several times as explained below.
M-S-M Routine - preparing to overtake
Mirrors- always assess the speed and position of traffic behind (someone could easily be about to overtake you). You will need to check the interior mirror and right hand door mirror.
Signal- at this stage because you are only preparing to overtake do not apply signal until ready.
Position- be close enough to the vehicle you wish to overtake whilst allowing enough room to get a good view of the road ahead.
Speed- keep to the same speed as the vehicle ahead and consider changing down a gear for extra power to help pass briskly when you get a chance.
Look- asses the whole situation.
the road conditionsthe intentions of the driver aheadany hazards (look out for signs and road markings)speed of oncoming trafficassess the speed difference between yourself and oncoming traffic
As the situation can change you may need to keep following the above routine until you are 100% happy it is safe to overtake. If you are overtaking a cyclist give them plenty of room and where you are approaching horse riders slow down well in advance passing by without frightening the horses.
M-S-M Routine - when you overtake
Mirrors- re-assess the situation behind as well as interior and right door mirrors as you are about to overtake have a quick check for any blind spots (in case someone is in the process of overtaking you).
Signal- always apply signal when ready to overtake as this will help drivers behind, the person you are overtaking and any drivers coming towards you.
Manoeuvre- pull out on a smooth line overtaking as quickly as you can so that you can get back onto the correct side of the road as early as possible. Checking mirrors to make sure you are clear of the vehicle you are overtaking so that you do not cut them up.
For overtaking on dual carriageways / motorways view "Dual Carriageways" as there are slight differences overtaking on multi-lane roads compared to single lane roads.