The difference between overtaking and being ahead.

Unfortunately, even experienced drivers do not always clearly distinguish between the concepts of "advancing" and "overtaking", and even beginners - even more so. In practice, this often leads to an unwanted meeting with road inspectors and even emergency situations. Considering that it is not for nothing that the car is universally recognized as a source of increased danger, every motorist should always be aware of what he is doing when making a maneuver - overtaking or advancing.


Overtaking represents being ahead of the vehicle (or several) with the exit to the oncoming lane and the subsequent mandatory return to the original lane (or the side of the carriageway).

Leading is movement with excess speed relative to associated vehicles. This maneuver is performed within its own lane.


From the point of view of the Rules, advancing and overtaking are fundamentally different terms. It is worth starting with the fact that overtaking, due to its peculiarities, is the most dangerous of the maneuvers.

Overtaking is always associated not only with the advance of passing vehicles, but also with maneuvering to the left side with an exit to the adjacent lane or “oncoming lane”, as well as with the obligatory return to the original lane.

Overtaking schematically

An important difference is that overtaking is possible both to the left and to the right. In addition, overtaking as a maneuver is strictly limited by traffic rules and in many cases is prohibited. This does not apply to advancing - it can be done in almost any situation, except in cases of heavy traffic, when all lanes are occupied by transport. The only caveat - returning to your lane after making an advance is overtaking. Naturally, you cannot make the lead by going into the “oncoming lane”.


  1. Overtaking is a maneuver associated with advancing a vehicle (or several) with an exit to the oncoming lane (side of the carriageway) and the subsequent mandatory return to the one with which the maneuver was started.
  2. Leading is a maneuver performed within one's own side of the carriageway at a speed exceeding the speed of the passing vehicle.
  3. Overtaking is the most dangerous of all existing maneuvers.
  4. Advance does not provide for driving into the oncoming lane and mandatory return to the previously occupied one.
  5. Leading is possible both on the left and on the right, overtaking - only on the left.
  6. The performance of overtaking should be treated especially carefully - traffic rules provide for many cases when it is prohibited.