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How to deal with parked cars - overtaking parked vehicles:

Driving around town would be much easier if it wasn't for parked cars everywhere. On most roads they restrict the width so that it is difficult to pass oncoming traffic. If you understand the negotiating procedure between you and the approaching drivers it can make things more predictable. I attempt to explain it below:



Parked cars on your side of the road:
As soon as you see the obstruction on your side of the road (photo above), check your interior, and right-side mirrors. Generally don't indicate to go around unless there is a specific reason such as someone trying to overtake you. Going past the parked car is the expected course of action, and you don't want someone who is waiting to pull out to think that you are turning right. Indicate to do the unexpected.

If someone is closing up rapidly from behind, and posturing to overtake, you have two choices: Either indicate right and pull out earlier than you would otherwise to block them (you must have plenty of room to do this): or, you can slow down to let them overtake before you get to the parked vehicle.

If there is any oncoming traffic you must be prepared to give way. Try to adjust your speed so that you don't get to the obstruction at the same time as anyone approaching. Timing is everything! There's no point trying to squeeze through a tight gap when you could slow down a bit, and have the road all to yourself.



If it looks OK to proceed, move out into a road position that will enable you to pass the parked cars with at least a door's width clearance (photo above). The door’s width clearance is important – it doesn’t matter if you go over the white centre line. Try not to squeeze through without crossing the lines. Road markings don't hurt, car doors do!

Positioning should be done early on, so that you are as far out as you need to be and parallel to the car, well before you get to it. This also lets anyone coming the other way how much room you need. Be very aware at this point of any side turnings on the right that someone may pull out from. If there is, cover your horn, and use it if you see any vehicles moving towards you and not looking at you! 



If there is approaching traffic, be positive and try to hold an assertive position (photo above). If you can’t get through, ease back in slightly and hold back next to the white line. At a minimum 2 car length distance from the parked car. This is so that when you can go, you don’t have to steer forcefully to get around.

If you think that there is enough room, you must look for their reaction to your position. As the distance between you and the oncoming car closes, at some point you should see them respond. This will usually be quite obvious as they will move over to their left a little to increase the size of the gap. Once you get this reaction you know that they are assessing the gap as well. sometimes it is very late as the approaching driver may not be looking very far ahead.



Teaching people to drive for over 30 years! Professional driving lessons with
Alan J Barker BA DSA ADI. Covering Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge areas