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Date: Fri 7th September 2018   |   Author: L Blake


Undertaking refers to when one vehicle overtakes another slower moving vehicle on the left-hand side.

While it is not illegal to undertake on a dual carriageway or on a motorway whilst driving in the UK, an undertaking car can be very dangerous and could lead to an accident if the driver is not careful. The driver of an undertaking car may receive a penalty if their actions are considered to be careless driving.

In this blog we will take a look at the rules around undertaking and will clarify when this may be considered careless driving. We will also outline the possible consequences if you’re caught undertaking.

What does the law say about undertaking?

The Highway Code advises drivers not to undertake as a general rule of safety. It says: “Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake. “

However, the Code also suggests that it is acceptable to undertake in slow-moving traffic if the lane to your left is moving faster than the lane on your right. In this instance, it is deemed safer to undertake than to weave in and out of traffic.

The Code says: “In congested conditions, where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right. In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right.”

Can you receive a penalty for undertaking?

Although The Highway Code discourages undertaking, it is not a punishable offence unless the driver is considered to be driving carelessly.

Careless driving is defined as driving in a way which falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver and/or driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.

According to the AA, undertaking can fall into the category of careless driving if the driver is considered to be driving without due care and attention and/or risks the safety of other road users by doing so.

The penalty for careless driving offences will vary depending on the severity of the offence. For most careless driving offences, drivers can expect a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 and three points on their driving licence. In some cases, the driver may be offered a drivers’ education course as an alternative to receiving penalty points.

For more serious cases where driving is deemed as dangerous, there is a harsher penalty of up to nine points on your licence or disqualification, a fine of up to £5,000 and a court summons.

We hope you found our tips on undertaking useful. For more driving tips and other interesting articles, visit the AutoProtect engage page.