Can you overtake in an M-30 tunnel?

Publicado el 03/12/2018
adelantamiento en tunel

Would you be able to confirm that you can overtake in an M-30 tunnel? Many vehicles travel daily on this road, but do they all meet safety standards? We’re talking about a by-pass containing four tunnels with a total length of 43 kilometres. It is Europe’s largest network of urban tunnels, hence the importance of knowing how to transit through them correctly.

We must be very rigorous with its specific rules when travelling through the tunnels:

  • Always use the dipped head lights when entering, regardless of existing lighting.
  • Keep a safety distance of 100 meters or 4 seconds from the vehicle in front. For vehicles over 3500 kg this should be increased to 150 meters or 6 seconds.
  • If the traffic stops, keep as far away as possible from the vehicle in front and turn on the emergency lights to warn other drivers coming from behind.

Is it possible to overtake in a tunnel?

It is forbidden to overtake in a tunnel or underpass if there is only one lane in each direction. It would be an unnecessary and dangerous risk to overtake under these circumstances.

However, if there are two or more lanes in each direction, overtaking is permitted as long as one does not occupy the lane in the opposite direction and specific preferences are followed.

Example of tunnel overtaking

Let us suppose that three cars (one in each lane) are travelling inside a tunnel on a road with three lanes. In the right lane, the car observes that the lane on its left (the middle lane) moves faster and wants to join it. And in the left lane, the car has already overtaken and wants to return to the middle lane. The car that has the preference to travel in the middle lane is the one that is already doing so – neither of the other two have priority over the former.

In this sense, the rule is clear: any lateral movement in a lane change must respect the priority of the vehicle that is already in it.

In any case, the users and drivers who transit through a tunnel must follow the indications of the variable message panels, traffic lights and traffic signals, as well as the guidelines communicated through the PA system or any other channel.

Safety in the tunnels

To overtake in a tunnel one has to be more careful than usual and be aware of the circumstances in which it is permitted. There is no need to be fearful if the safety rules and traffic signs are rigorously followed in order to adapt our driving. Prevention in these cases is the best ally.


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