The annoying driving behaviour that can see motorists fined $298

It’s a pet peeve of many drivers on the road, and those who do it might be surprised to learn they can be slapped with a pretty hefty fine.

There’s a good chance you’ve had the experience of being on a long drive, perhaps a road trip to start a holiday, and when you try to overtake a slower vehicle in front of you, it suddenly speeds up as the overtaking lane appears.

Technically you’re not allowed to exceed the speed limit when overtaking, so when this happens it means you’re stuck behind the driver when the road returns to a single lane and the driver inexplicably slows down again.

A single car on a wide open two-lane country road.
Nothing worse than a stubbornly slow driver who doesn't want to be overtaken on a long trip. Source: AAP

Countless words have been furiously typed on social media and online forums, discussing the phenomena.

“It's more competitive than ever just to do the simplest thing like go on a holiday,” complained one person on a Whirlpool forum dedicated to the topic.

“On a long trip, a few kms an hour under the speed limit makes little difference but there are definitely aggressive drivers who don't like being overtaken,” they lamented.

Others, however, have their own theory on the matter.

“There is an explanation,” a seperate motorist offered. “Poor drivers usually snail along the windy roads and when a wide open double lane overtaking straight appears they suddenly gain confidence to go faster.”

It’s maddening. It’s also against the rules.

According to the NSW government’s road safety guidelines, when being overtaken a driver must:

  • not increase your speed

  • keep left and allow reasonable space for the overtaking vehicle to pass and move back into the lane

  • keep within your lane

The same rules apply across all states.

Speeding up while being over taken is a $298 fine in NSW and a loss of three demerit points. On the flip side, “Unsafe overtaking” is also a $298 fine and loss of two demerit points.

Queensland is a little less harsh on the matter. Increasing speed when being overtaken will cost you an $80 fine and two demerit points.

Meanwhile in Victoria, the same offence carries a whopping $322 fine and two demerit points.

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