When I was learning to drive, part of it included getting to grips with overtaking safely. It involved staying far enough back from the slower vehicle to get a good view ahead and when safe, shift down a gear or two to ensure the manoeuvre was carried out quickly and safely.
But how often do we now seem to be stuck in a queue of traffic behind something slow with no one seeming to have an appetite to overtake. No one can blame the HGV at the front of the queue. On single-carriageway A-roads their legal maximum speed is 40mph.
So when the speed limit is 60mph and most modern cars are capable of reaching 60mph from 40mph in less than 10 seconds, why are people content to sit in a queue several vehicles long behind something slow?
And the longer the queue, the more difficult – and less safe – it is for drivers to overtake from farther back.
And what have these drivers who flash their lights furiously at you when you do pass them (safely, I might add)? If you've found the controls that do that, surely you can press a little harder on the accelerator!
I have a theory. The little box in the car that tells people where to go and how to get there doesn't prompt them to overtake. People have become so reliant on satellite navigation – witness how few vehicles now seem to be without it, whether in the dashboard or suction-cupped to the windscreen – it makes you wonder how anyone ever managed to reach their destinations before these bossy voices hidden behind a screen with a map on it were created.
Unless it was a special journey, back in the day when satellite navigation was printed on the pages of something called a road atlas, drivers relied on their existing knowledge of routes. Therefore, as they weren't reliant on a digital know-all piping up with instructions every few minutes they didn't need anyone to give them the order to overtake.
There seemed to be little bunching up behind slow-moving traffic and almost everyone know how to overtake. Overtaking should be easier than ever as car performance has improved and with the large number of torquey turbodiesels around there is no reason people should spend miles with their speed dictated by a large vehicle travelling at 40mph.
My advice: leave the sat-nav at home unless you REALLY need it, pay attention to the surroundings, observe speed limits, and, once in a while, be prepared to overtake.