When and where is overtaking prohibited?

Published 16/03/2020
cuando está prohibido adelantar

When driving, many manoeuvres are made with poor visibility that can cause dangerous situations for other road users. To avoid incidents and risky situations on the roads, we are going to remind you in which situations overtaking is prohibited.

Situations where overtaking is prohibited

Overtaking is one of the manoeuvres that generates the greatest number of accidents and therefore, it is prohibited in places with poor visibility. A curve, a change of slope without visibility, level crossings and intersections are especially dangerous. Below, we will explain each of the situations where you shouldn’t overtake, since it is prohibited according to Article 7 of Royal Legislative Decree 6/2015.

1. Curves and changes of slope

Curves and changes of slope with reduced visibility prevent you from seeing the oncoming vehicle. For this reason, they are marked with a continuous line and a no passing sign for all vehicles driving on the road.

There is only one exception: overtaking a motorcycle, but provided you do not go into the other lane of oncoming traffic, starting from the location of the sign until the end of the no passing zone. In other words, you can overtake as long as you don’t enter the other lane.

2. Tunnels and one-lane underpasses

Regardless of whether or not they are illuminated, when you travel through a tunnel or an underpass with only one lane in each direction, you cannot pass. However, it is allowed when there is more than one lane in your direction.

3. Level crossings

Level crossings and the area in their vicinity are places where you must exercise extreme caution and never pass any other vehicles. The ideal thing to do is to gradually slow down, stop the vehicle and obey both the audible and visual signs. Once you are allowed to start driving again, you must cross the train tracks safely.

4. Bike lanes

In the vicinity of a bike lane, overtaking is absolutely forbidden, due to the high risk of running over cyclists who are riding parallel to the road. In addition, bike lanes usually have intersection areas with common streets, where overtaking is also not allowed.

5. Intersections

Intersections are highly risky places where overtaking is prohibited. There is a good chance that you’ll find another vehicle, a path for cyclists or pedestrians walking nearby. You can only overtake in 4 cases:

  • If you can overtake on the right.
  • Preference on the road of the intersection where the vehicle is located, provided that it is indicated by a sign.
  • You can only overtake two-wheel vehicles.
  • When it’s a roundabout or traffic circle.

You should be aware of each of these circumstances when you get behind the wheel. Although you should know that there is an exception for overtaking vehicles in each of these situations: when an immobilised vehicle is blocking all or part of the road in the same direction you’re travelling in, it may be overtaken. This is allowed as long as you previously ensure that making the manoeuvre isn’t dangerous. In these same circumstances, you can overtake bicycles.

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