Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's the protocol in overtaking a police-led convoy?

How do you overtake an official 'police-led' convoy driven on the right side of the road at 110 km per hour?

I am not sure of the protocol, to be honest. But that was the predicament I was in last Wednesday at The East Coast Hiway driving back to Kuala Lumpur after attending a meeting in Kerteh.

We saw the blinking light ahead of us and thought it was an ambulance. We were wondering why the buses in front of it would not let them pass through. But as we closed them in, we realized that it was an immigration convoy led by a police patrol car, consisting of 2 buses and 2 vans.

I presume they were carrying the illegal immigrants to be deported.

The convoy was driving on the right lane at about 110 km per hour, and there is no way you would be able to pass through on right. Eventhough it was driven at 110, I was in no mood to sit behind and be part of long queue behind the convoy.

I was not paid by the government to be part of the convoy!

So I decided to overtake from the left. (I know, I know, it is supposed to be illegal, but they left me with no choice). 

The last van in the convoy - the first vehicle for me to overtake, started to swerve to his left and entering the left lane, presumably trying to prohibit me from overtaking. He started sounding the siren too, which I ignored.

I managed to overtake half of the convoy. With only 3 more vehicles to go, I was stopped on my track by slow moving car on the left lane.

And the whole convoy overtook me. Gleefully, I presume. ;-)

The second time I tried again, the same happened. The van started sounding his siren as I passed by him on the left and with only one more bus and the police car ahead to overtake, I tried to sneak in in between the bus and the police escort on the right lane, as again my (left) lane was blocked by a slow moving vehicle.

There was a gap between the police car and the bus for me to sneak in on the right lane.

Immediately the bus gave chase to me, and as he started closing in on me,  he gave me the high beam, and gave me on big honk. I got no choice then but to back off and move back to the left, and the whole convoy would then (re) overtake me.

I was bit furious. It seems that they would not want to let you pass through for whatever reasons. I realized that they were driving at 110 including the bus, and I guess eventhough they were both commercial buses, but under police escort they could be driven at 110.

Legally may be, I am not sure.

But what's the protocol actually? Under such circumstances, are we supposed to slow down and follow the convoy over a few hundred kilometers, which I thought would be a dangerous thing to do. We are still far from the exit, and the whole hiway might be jammed up by vehicles all driving at the same speed.

I wanted to use my 10% flexibility in speed to overtake them. At 115 or up to 121 km per hour, I believe the police would not give me a ticket for speeding.

This was our third attempt to overtake them, and we had the camera ready, just in case if anything were to happen. You can see the last van practically driving on both lanes, as if trying to prohibit or discourage overtaking, and as we were about to overtake the second van, the first van sounded its siren (at 1:30), I presume, to let me know of his displeasure of my overtaking.

Or a show of power?

Should I be waiting for my saman ekor anytime soon? ;-)

I should not tempt fate, I supposed. Hahaha...

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