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Time passing on an inside bend illustration (UK edition): showing a two-lane carriage way bending to the right with a red arrow to show the shorter route for overtaking

Passing on an inside bend

We all know that racing drivers overtake on the inside — it's the shorter, faster route. It was only relatively recently that I found how useful it can be on a long drive, too, not for racing but for using the bend on a multilane road for easier, safer overtaking.

Perhaps this scenario will resonate: after cruising at a steady speed for miles of a long journey you slowly catch up with a car traveling just a few miles an hour slower. You're not driving fast enough to zip by them, but the difference is enough to slow your steady progress on a long journey, and if you're driving near the speed limit anyway you probably don't want to accelerate much to overtake.

On a multi-lane road like a motorway or freeway — not a single lane road where you'd be overtaking with reduced visibility on the corner in the opposing lane — timing your overtaking so you're on the inside of a bend and the slower car is on the outside allows you to get round the slower driver in a shorter time and without needing to travel nearly as fast.

And the converse is also true: if you've timed your overtaking when approaching a bend where you'll be on the outside you'll find that you'll have to go a lot faster to get round or perhaps that your intended overtaking is actually not getting you past at all.

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