Overtaking While Towing

There are special problems associated with overtaking while driving a large vehicle.

The air movement caused by a large vehicle travelling fast can force a small vehicle off the road, or draw it into the side of a large vehicle.

It is important you look before pulling out to overtake other vehicles, there may be smaller vehicles behind you that also wish to overtake and pull out as you do.

Overtaking large vehicles with a large trailer is fraught with danger; it is a major factor of accidents involving large trailers as the wind turbulence can be unexpected and severe, upsetting the balance of the trailer and creating sway.

Only consider overtaking large vehicles when you have planned the overtaking manoeuvre well in advance and considered the following:

  • You are travelling greater than 10km/h faster than the larger vehicle
  • The road is wide enough for you to allow sufficient gap between vehicles
  • You have a clear view of the road well ahead.
  • You are confident and prepared for the wind turbulence on your vehicle.
  • There is no significant side wind or other wind turbulence.
  • The road conditions are reasonable to do so.

If you have any doubts about the manoeuvre mentioned above or in circumstances below: (consider waiting for a more appropriate time)

If you:

  • are travelling within 10 km/h of the slower vehicle
  • do not have enough road to manoeuvre
  • have no time constraints

sit back and enjoy the view, you will get an opportunity to pass eventually or stop and make a cuppa, for 10 minutes. It’s not worth dying for the 2 minutes you will save by overtaking.



Information provided by Tow-Ed. Tow-Ed offers nationally recognized towing training courses. These are a practical day with participants covering all facets of driving and maneuvering with trailers.

Visit www.tow-ed.com.au for more information.




Being Overtaken While Towing

  • Maintain speed – Do not slow down until the overtaking vehicle has at least the front of their vehicle ahead of yours! It may create air turbulence on your trailer and start sway or snaking
  • Move to the left hand side of the lane to increase the gap between vehicles. Use the technique described in “Position on the road”, That is, use the edge of road or the fog line for reference – move the trailer as far left as possible without the risk of leaving the edge of the road. Generally, by placing you, the driver in the middle of the lane, this will position the vehicle and trailer over to the left side of the lane.
  • Concentrate on the left hand side of the road; this will reduce the chance of drifting towards the overtaking vehicle.

Do not direct following vehicles to overtake, by using the right hand indicator for example, as it is illegal and dangerous. You do not know the capabilities of the other driver, so you may be encouraging an inexperienced driver to attempt an unsafe move.