Has 'middle lane hogging' caused a crisis on the motorways?!
Some would argue that we are having a Middle Lane Hogging crisis in the UK. While middle lane hogging refers to those drivers unnecessarily sitting in the middle lane, the problem goes a little bit deeper in the sense that drivers do not seem to understand how the lanes of motorways work. If you do not regularly use motorways or you are a new driver, then the concept of 3 or 4 lanes can be a little daunting and slightly confusing. More importantly, it is extremely frustrating for regular uses and also dangerous.
Firstly, we need to rid away with a common misconception to driving on motorways, and that is the names of the lanes. They are not the 'slow lane' or the 'fast lane', but simply lane 1, 2 and 3 (sometimes 4). Certain vehicles are prohibited from using lane 3 or 4 set out in The Highway Code sections 264 to 265, and these are:
- Any vehicle with a trailer
- Speed-limited goods vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes
- Goods vehicles weighing above 7.5 tonnes in weight
- Passenger vehicles seating nine or more people (inclusive of driver) that weigh more than 7.5 tonnes
- Speed-limited passenger vehicles matching the above specification
Now we understand the lanes a little bit better, we can take a look at where people are going wrong.
Undertaking, Overtaking and Lane Discipline
The Highway Way Code states very clearly in section 264 that "you should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road is clear ahead. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past."
And this is where the problem lies. There are countless examples of this available online of drivers doing this, including a great video by WelshDrive and also by confused.com who teamed up with Thames Valley Police to demonstrate the severity of the situation. If you use the motorways often, you no doubt would have experienced this: lane 1 is clear of traffic, yet lane 2 and 3 is clogged up. Worst still, a driver sat oblivious in lane 3 when all other lanes are empty. People seem unaware they are even doing anything wrong. As quoted, you must stay as far left as possible at all times; if you do not need to be in lane 2, 3 or 4 then do not go into said lanes.
Why does matter? Where is the danger