What do we call the act of overtaking a vehicle which is already being overtaken by one or more cars? You see that some other car begins overtaking, and you join this overtaker, and others may join you, creating a dangerous string of overtakers.

It's kind of "blind overtaking in a row", where you blindly hope that there will be enough time for you to finish the maneuver, since your visibility is obstructed by the overtakers ahead of you.

In Russian, we call it "обгон паровозиком" - "train-style overtaking", because several overtaking vehicles look like the carriages of a train.

I was reading a local news report in which a guy joined such "overtaking train" and killed an oncoming driver, and I became curious about the phrase used in English for this "train-style overtaking".

I don't necessarily need a single word - a phrase will do. There must be some commonly used expression for this, because this must be a common while dangerous practice. I googled for "overtaking in a queue" and "serial overtaking", but there were no relevant results.

  • I don’t think I’ve ever heard a word for that. I’m familiar with the concept, of course, but I don’t have a specific word for it. Aug 21, 2019 at 10:36
  • I don't know of one, maybe a queue (we do like a good queue)
    – WendyG
    Aug 21, 2019 at 10:36
  • 1
    One phrase is herd mentality or herd behaviour but I can't find a dictionary definition that makes a good answer. Aug 21, 2019 at 13:35
  • @WeatherVane - no, I'm looking for a phrase a motorist would use for describing this situation Aug 21, 2019 at 14:15
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    I don't think there is one: but perhaps in US or UK it does not happen often enough for a phrase to be coined. Aug 21, 2019 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


The simple answer is there is no common phrase for this.

When it does happen, it is similarly described as 'a train of cars all passing at once.'

In my experience traveling the states I have not seen this happen when vision was obstructed. It does, however, occur on long straightaways with clear vision for some distance.

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