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Passing on the Florida Turnpike
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Passing on the Florida Turnpike - May 15, 2005
Just back from a weekend road trip and we observed that a lot of drivers don't seem to know how to pass on the turnpike. Sure you know how to get passed the car in front of you but what about technique. The speed limit on much of Florida's turnpike is 70 mph with most cars traveling at 75 mph or greater so an unsafe maneuver can quickly trigger a multi car pileup.
The Basics of Passing on City Streets
As you approach a vehicle you want to pass keep a safe distance back. The closer you are to the car or truck you are about to pass the less you can see ahead. This is even more important when passing large tucks and trailers. Before you pull out to pass check the on coming traffic and behind you to make sure it is clear. Before you start to move into the left lane use your left turn signal. This tells cars behind you and the car in front of you your intentions.
Passing on the Turnpike
The only time it is legal to pass on the right is when there are two or more lanes traveling in the same direction - like the Turnpike, I95, or I4. You can also pass on the right if the car you are passing is turning left. The big mistake we observed on the Turnpike is when you move back over into the right lane. After you pass a car on the left and move back into the right lane leave a safe distance between you and the car you passed. Swooping in front of a car and leaving to little distance is very dangerous.
Just like you should leave distance between you and car you are following (read: don't tailgate) you must leave distance between you and the car you move in front of. At 70 mph your stopping distance will be approximately 315 feet. This takes into account the time it takes you recognize you need to stop and actually come to a stop. So if you swoop 50 feet in front of a car going 70 mph it's a recipe for disaster.
Also note that camping out in the left lane on the turnpike is a no-no if there are any cars approaching behind you. It's typically safer to drive in the right lane anyway so when you are on the turnpike drive in the right lane and pass with care.
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