Overtaking on the road safely and within the law is now all but impossible.

The speed limit on the open road is 100km/h. The police are applying zero tolerance. You can now be ticketed at 101km/h. The speed limit for heavy vehicles and cars pulling caravans, boats or trailers is 90km/h.

Do the maths. In good driving conditions we are advised to apply the "two-second rule". At 90km/h that's 50m. So you pull out 50m behind a truck and trailer, the truck and trailer is 20m long and you pull in once safely 50m past. You have to make 120m to pass safely.

If the truck is doing 90km/h and you stick to 100km/h it takes 43 seconds to gain that 120m.


At 100km/h you will have travelled 1.2km. You must allow for a car coming towards you at 100km/h. To pass safely you need 2.4km of clear road.

That doesn't happen often.

So you wait for a passing lane. The traffic behind the truck and trailer builds up. Finally you get to a passing lane. The front cars take off - at 100km/h. I drove Auckland to Queenstown these holidays and typically only the first two cars would make it past.

I would then watch in horror as a couple of frustrated drivers would try to pass the line of cars and the truck and trailer without the benefit of a passing lane or a clear road. It was frightening. And predictable.

I am no speedster. I am never in a hurry. I am content to drive at the speed of the traffic, whether its 90km/h or 100km/h. In more than 40 years I have only had two speeding tickets.

But if I must pass, I hit the gas hard. I want to get past as quickly as I can to get back on the correct side of the road as soon as I can. I minimise what is called the "time exposed to danger". I typically pass at 120km/h.

This year I rescued and repaired a classic V8. It's quick. And I have gone more than 120km/h when passing in hills before settling back to a 100km/h.

That's when it gets interesting. If I got pinged at 141km/h I would immediately lose my licence. On the spot. For 28 days.


I might be tempted to sneak the car back to the campground. Not a good idea. If I were caught I would be guilty of driving without a licence. My car would be impounded for 28 days.

The suspension and seizing of the car are mandatory. The police officer has no discretion. That's the law.

The suspension and seizure are immediate.

But I am sure the police use their brains when applying the law, which is not what politicians did when making it.

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