Sunday, 9 June 2013

Middle lane driving

I use the middle lane of motorways a lot. I do not consider myself a hog. I have rational reasons for using the middle lane. The government wants to bring in penalties for people hogging the middle lane, but middle lane use has to be considered in the context of overall road use. Some others consider me a hog, usually those intent on breaking the speed limit. If I am travelling at 70 mph, I cannot legally be in anybody's way. If somebody comes up behind me, flashing their lights to get me out of their way when the outside lane is clear, they can move over. If they want my co-operation with their intention of breaking the law, they're not going to get it.

If I do move into the inside lane, I will frequently come up behind traffic moving more slowly than me. I signal and wait for an opportunity to move out into the middle lane to overtake. That opportunity is often denied me for long periods by streams of cars flashing past at illegal speeds, none of whom will move over into the vacant outside lane to let me out.

It I am in the middle lane, with a slow moving vehicle in sight in the inside lane, when another car comes up behind me, I hold my position as I will soon be passing the slower vehicle. It is often the case nowadays that the driver behind decides to overtake on the inside lane instead of the outside, when the outside lane is completely clear. Perhaps they are trying to make a point. But they are actually making life worse for themselves, because the current fashion for overtaking on the inside adds an element of risk to changing into the inside lane as you now have to be aware of cars moving up on both sides.

So if you want me to move habitually into the inside lane, you have to do three things:
a) travel at or below the speed limit
b) exercise the courtesy of letting me out of the inside lane when I need to
c) overtake on the outside lane, not the inside.

But our driving culture is generally so self centred and so speed conscious that pigs will fly before that happens, so I will continue to use the middle lane.

If the government were to introduce penalties for middle lane hogging in the context of enforcing the law on speeding and on inside overtaking, they would have some rationale for it. Doing it on its own, however, is tackling the symptom rather than the problem.

Update 14th August 2014: if you wish to comment on this post, please read this first.

The responses I have had have been very interesting. There are some robust and informative debates below. There are also several assertions that it is all right for people to break speeding laws and laws on overtaking, but they take what they call middle lane hogging to be the ultimate sin. In order to take this stance, they usually have to exaggerate the behaviour that I have outlined in this post, which they then think justifies being rude to me. It does not.

If, after reading this post, you want to reiterate the arguments that your law breaking is OK but mine is not, then I will not publish or respond to them - I've done it often enough already. And if you think that defending your right to drive at any speed you want justifies you being rude to me, then I most certainly will not publish it.

If you have something new to say, and say it courteously, then I will be glad to publish it, and to respond if appropriate.


Luke90 said...

So, in summary, your justification for disobeying the rules of the road is to whine that other drivers also break the rules?

I'm sorry to make my first comment here a negative one, because I regularly read and enjoy your blog and have a lot of respect for you. Sadly, as so often on the internet, it's negative thoughts that actually spur people to post. I regularly commute on the motorway and find middle-lane drivers a massive irritation.

Rob Parsons said...

Well, thanks for your comment. I think it helps to look at the rules of the road as being there to enable everyone to make progress reasonably and safely. I am in the position of feeling safer ignoring this rule of the road because so many drivers break not only the rules of the road but also the law. To put it at its most basic, if I am travelling at the speed limit, how can I be an irritation to you?

Luke90 said...

To be frank, in common with a large proportion of motorway users, I regularly travel above the speed limit. Travelling above 70mph seems to be given tacit approval by the authorities now, in recognition of how far cars have moved on since the speed limit was originally set (perhaps rather arbitrarily).

I guess we're both in the position of recognising that we're breaking the rules but in what we each consider to be a reasonable way. Of course, those positions are also mutually irritating.

Rob Parsons said...

I agree, observation and enforcement of rules is a fascinating topic in itself. For me the problem with many drivers is not the speed limit itself, but lack of awareness. We tend not to observe what is going on around us, and not to react to it unless it affects us directly. I blogged a while ago about driving in India, which most Europeans think is manic, but which actually involves a lot more awareness than we ever exercise here. To make drivers in this country more aware of road, traffic, light and weather conditions would involve a big cultural shift in the way we habitually drive.

Luke90 said...

Indeed, more awareness would certainly ameliorate both of our issues to some extent. "Middle lane drivers" cause far fewer issues if they have enough awareness to spot when they're holding people up and move over. Of course, sticking with the mantra that there's another lane to the right for people to overtake them in fails to recognise that sometimes the person gradually overtaking them in the outside lane has a driver trapped behind them who would otherwise be moving faster than both cars. If they had enough situational awareness to spot that issue before it cropped up (by seeing both cars approaching them in their rear-view mirror) then they could avoid it altogether by moving out of the middle lane.

Likewise, relatively fast-moving drivers in the middle lane could reduce your difficulty with getting trapped in the middle lane by noting that you're bearing down on the lorry in front of you and taking a chance to move to the outside lane, leaving you with a gap to move out into. This is something I always endeavour to do, where I safely can and when I'm actually aware enough to spot the opportunity to do so.

Of course, both of these actions require awareness of what at least two different lanes of traffic are doing, both in front of and behind one's own car. Certainly takes concentration.

I tend to look on motorway driving as a "game", of sorts, where the "victory condition" is for me to drive at the most consistent speed I can whilst also allowing those around me to do the same, to as great an extent as I can manage. Generally, I'm operating on cruise control anyway.

Rob Parsons said...

So we're in agreement actually ;-)

I think you're exactly right about both scenarios, and I like the idea of a game with mutually beneficial outcomes. And you're right, it takes concentration, which for most people, I think, is the big issue. But also, it's a question of getting used to it. I did some advanced driving training (a long while ago now) and one of the things they teach you is to observe a long way ahead, as well as close to. Check what the car in front is doing, but also check what the car five, ten or twenty in front is doing. Once you get used to doing that, better observation becomes part of what you do naturally, then it's not so tiring. But you still need to concentrate.

Luke90 said...

You're definitely right about concentration. I also think that the big thing people miss in motorway driving is what's going on behind them. It's probably the biggest difference between good non-motorway driving and good motorway driving. Off motorways (or dual carriageways), the drivers behind you aren't a primary concern outside of unusual situations like emergency braking or country road overtaking. Once on the motorway, the speed and behaviour of those behind you is almost equal in importance with those in front of you, when it comes to planning your actions.

Ordinarily very "good" drivers who always concentrate hard and try to follow every rule of the road to the letter can become, at best, irritating and at worst dangerous on the motorway by concentrating hard on what's in front of them and only checking their mirrors when they actually have a reason to change lanes.

We've definitely found some common ground but sadly I think we'd still be irritated by each other if we "met" in passing on the motorway. You would think I was selfishly driving unnecessarily fast and I would think you were selfishly being lazy about changing lanes. I don't actually mean to insult you, I can understand your reasoning for staying in the middle lane at times. However, since driving cars has a similar anonymising and depersonalising effect to driving computers, I recognise that I have an unfortunate tendency to judge other anonymous drivers by the most uncharitable interpretation of their actions (as, I'm sure, they also judge mine).

In a conversation here, I can recognise you as a reasonable person and it seems you can see the same in me. Out on the road, that doesn't tend to be the case. I'd like to think that the debate stirred up by this media attention on the issue might spur drivers of all persuasions to consider the reasoning of others. Sadly, I suspect it will only spur further polarisation.

I can certainly admit that my first reaction when the story appeared was to silently cheer the threat of prosecution towards my "most hated enemy", the middle lane driver. Yours, though I'm not criticising you for it, was to justify your own position in this blog post. I suspect both of us only became more entrenched in our previous beliefs, though perhaps we are more open-minded after this exchange? I think I am. Although I still maintain that many middle lane drivers are simply too lazy to put in the effort and concentration required by courteous motorway driving, I will try to remember that some of them are also considerate, capable drivers, concentrating hard, who simply take a different view.

Mind you, that renewed commitment to tolerance has yet to be tested by the rigours of 3 hours on the motorway at the end of a busy working week!

Brian Mackay said...

You are annoying. Get out of the middle lane, and stop using the "70mph get out of jail free card." To say you have never exceeded the speed limit is a lie.

Rob Parsons said...

Thanks for that completely ignorant assessment of my character and driving experience, Brian.

Rozzer22 said...

"If I am travelling at 70 mph, I cannot legally be in anybody's way"

Oh deary deary deary Rob Parsons. As an ex traffic cop you are what's known in the force as a L2O
A lane 2 obstacle

How very naive and may I say ignorant to believe you would not be in anyone's way. I have witnessed accidents, unnecessary tailbacks and avoidable road rage all caused by people like your self with this ridiculous mentality

Middle laners inevitably do not use their Mirrors much and when emergency vehicles are in pursuit and have to travel at speed you are a complete nuisance and bottle neck the motorway to just one lane.

The amount of motorway Tarmac wasted because of yourself and others runs into millions of pounds worth of road denied to the tax paying motorist.

If you are not confident in your ability to change lane (Hence staying in the middle) then may I suggest you take a train.

Car speedos do not all read a true 70mph some are 10% out. So someone you might think is speeding may we'll be passing you inside or outside lane at a speed they think is legal

Using the correct lane is far safer motoring in the eyes of the law than a driver obsessed with sticking to an out of date and widely ignored speed limit

Rob Parsons said...

Rozzer22, I'm astonished that someone who claims to be an ex cop so blithely sides with wannabe lawbreakers. It's even worse that you have a label for people who drive in the middle lane, but ignore the illegality of all those speeders. Just because you think it's safe doesn't make it any less illegal. Do you take the same attitude to drug laws, I wonder?

Rob Parsons said...

And, by the way, Rozzer22, road rage is entirely the responsibility of the road user that is incapable of controlling their temper. If anybody should take the train, it is those people.

Alanf47 said...

The Highway Code clearly states:

On a three-lane dual carriageway, you may use the middle lane or the right-hand lane to overtake but return to the middle and then the left-hand lane when it is safe."

If your car is fitted with mirrors (which a great deal are these days), and you have the capacity to swivel your head in a 90° direction - and you can be bothered to do so - then you should have no qualms about changing lanes safely, and cannot justify staying in the middle lane if the inside is free. You state...

"If I am in the middle lane, with a slow moving vehicle in sight in the inside lane, when another car comes up behind me, I hold my position as I will soon be passing the slower vehicle. It is often the case nowadays that the driver behind decides to overtake on the inside lane instead of the outside, when the outside lane is completely clear."

If the approaching car has room to pass you on the inside, then you have room to be on the inside too, as by definition, you are approaching the slower vehicle more slowly, and should allow the faster car to pass in the correct overtaking lane, as the Highway Code states. The only reason you would have to stay in the middle lane would be either not seeing the car behind due to a complete lack of situational awareness, or a selfish disregard for everyone else's progress on the road.

When the inside lane is clear, there is no reason not to occupy it, to allow faster moving traffic to pass. Their speed is not my concern - they can be doing 100 for all I care, my business is to not obstruct them so they can get on with whatever they are doing. Yes, if somebody flies past at 95, then you (as I do) probably think they're a bit of a w****r, but although their actions are unsafe, they aren't impeding everyone else's progress at the expense of other motorists. If you are making a conscious decision to stay in the middle lane, then you are preventing the rest of the network from making progress. You've even said it yourself:

"For me the problem with many drivers is not the speed limit itself, but lack of awareness. We tend not to observe what is going on around us, and not to react to it unless it affects us directly."

If your awareness of your surroundings is as good as you say it is, if you see an HGV on the inside in the distance, you should have the ability to approach in the inside lane, monitoring the middle lane from the inside - again, using your mirrors and head - and forward plan, to be able to move out when you aren't going to be taking up the road for faster traffic. If you are in a situation where you are stuck behind an HGV, and the middle lane is full, you should be able to rely on that other motoring virtue, 'patience'.

Everyone else on the motorway has the same aim; to get where they are going. If some people want to do it faster than others, then it is the police's job to deal with them appropriately, not yours. You are not the arbiter of the motorway, and should not decide who should pass you and who shouldn't. This is akin to vigilantism, which is also illegal. If you are not utilising the entirety of the motorway, then you ARE stopping everyone from getting where they are going for your own personal gain, and this is extremely frustrating and selfish behaviour. Middle lane driving forces everyone else to the outside, which clogs the motorway, and makes everyone late and frustrated.

I believe that Rozzer22's label for people who drive in the middle lane is actually quite a polite term compared to the other things that countless other sensible and informed motorists (myself included) are no doubt thinking...

Alanf47 said...

And just for your information, I have no points on my licence, have never been in an accident, and have never had a speeding ticket, or any other motoring related penalty. I've never even been pulled. I am an educated and informed driver, and it is drivers like yourself who are so self-assured about their motoring knowledge, when it is so inherently flawed, that makes me weep on a regular basis.

Rob Parsons said...

The point I was making, Alan, about people who overtake on the inside is that they make it inherently more risky for me to move over if they are coming up behind, because I do not know which way they are going to move.

I thank you for your comments, which are a good deal more informed than Rozzer's. I think that you still mistake my explanation of my strategy. You draw the conclusion that I hold people up. I do not. The outside lane is clear. If they want to break the law, they can use it. Why should I accommodate them? You advise me to use patience, so that other people do not have to use theirs. Isn't patience something we should all be deploying?

Alanf47 said...

First off, thank you for your compliment, I must apologise if I was coming across as hostile, I was obviously in a bad mood that day... Anyway, continuing the discussion:

Surely if you were in the inside lane to start with, it would be impossible for someone to undertake, which is why you are supposed to return to the inside as soon as you have overtaken a slower moving vehicle - imagine if you will, your car was fitted with technology which literally pulled you back to the correct lane as soon as you had finished your overtake (possibly using magnets, or some sort of tractor beam, I'm working on it), then undertaking would literally never happen. There would just be a neatly organised traffic system of cars, then faster cars, then even faster cars, everyone going to where they are going, and no undertaking or dangerous manoeuvres or frustration. Once you introduce motorists who do not return to their correct lane, the opportunity for undertaking arises, and that is when driving starts to become dangerous.

I have an anecdote, which literally just happened this week. As part of my job, I sometimes drive a minibus, which is limited to 62. I was driving on the motorway, and in the middle lane ahead was a car travelling at about 55, however the inside lane was clear, so I didn't understand what they were doing. But, as I approached, I did the sensible thing, moved over to the middle and then outside lane and began to overtake quite quickly and comfortably. As I began to pass, the other motorist decided to speed up to, you guessed it, 62. So, if you can picture the situation, there is an empty inside lane, no HGV's or anything in the distance, then this car matching my speed, and then me in a slow moving minibus, desperately trying to get past, to let the rapidly forming queue behind me get on their way. This went on for about two miles, and was horrendously embarrassing and frustrating for all concerned, and could all have been avoided if the driver in question was using the road correctly.

This is an extreme example, but beautifully illustrates my point; the rules of the road are there to allow everyone to progress safely and efficiently, and driving in the middle lane is counter-productive to that end. I'm not saying you directly hold people up, and I'm not saying that you should accommodate people who want to break the law. But, if you are making a conscious decision to NOT accommodate them, then you are choosing to obstruct them, and surely that is wrong? Shouldn't you just be ignoring them completely, letting the police take care of them, and driving as everyone should be, adhering to the rules of the road. I emphasise the 'should' in that last sentence, because we both know that there are some right numpty's out there - but you are an educated person, and I'm sure you take pride in your motoring, so surely should be leading by example? Just to reiterate, middle lane driving encourages undertaking, and/or forcing vehicles into the one remaining lane.

Rob Parsons said...

Hi Alan - I can see the point of your anecdote, but in that circumstance I would move over. I quite like your tractor beam analogy, and I would be very happy to accept it, as long as the tractor beam also pulled back cars that were intent on breaking the speed limit, and also pulled outwards vehicles that were not willing to let out others stuck behind slower moving vehicles in the inside lane. It's courtesy really, isn't it, and the point I was making in my original post was that courtesy works both ways.

Luke90 said...

Alanf47, whilst I sympathise with your minibus predicament (and am in fact very much on your side of the middle lane argument in general), your 62mph-limited minibus isn't actually allowed in the third lane. I speak as an occasional minibus driver and although I find it a very frustrating rule from time to time, I do obey it. 62mph is too slow for the outside lane.

Rob Parsons said...

Good point, Luke - I'd overlooked that. I have to admit I'm a bit hazy on that - how big does a minibus have to be to be subject to those restrictions?

Luke90 said...

I'm not too sure, to be honest, I just know that the minibuses I drive aren't allowed in the outside lane. If anything, the presence of vehicles that aren't permitted further out than the middle lane only adds to the argument against prolonging your stay in the middle lane.

Alanf47 said...

Luke90, I have to admit that this is a piece of information that has passed me by, however I have done my research and it seems that you're very much correct. How foolish do I look... However, as we are all courteous, gentleman motorists here, it's worth mentioning that whenever I have used the outside lane to overtake, it's only when there isn't an approaching vehicle so as not to impede anyone - apart from my example above of course :) I totally agree, 62 really is too slow if anyone is behind. But, every day is an education, and this is a rule that I shall be sticking to from now on. Straying from the point a little, but I think a lot of car drivers aren't aware or forget that minibuses are limited and can't use the outside lane, so will stay in the middle lane, expecting you to overtake, when it is not convenient or even legal... As Luke suggests, more reasons why staying in the middle lane is not a good idea, when limited vehicles only actually have two to choose from.

Rob Parsons said...

Sorry for the delay in posting your comment, Alan. I have comments filtered because I've had some rather nasty spam (I don't mind the odd irrelevant post, but some of this was not what you want to read.) and my comment filter isn't telling me when comments are ready for moderation. There must be a box to check somewhere.....

Randy Texdds said...

Many roads have two or more lanes going in your direction. If you can choose among three lanes on your side of the road, pick the middle lane for the smoothest driving. Use the left lane to go faster, pass, or turn left. Use the right lane to drive slowly, enter, or turn off the road. Position your vehicle to keep up with the traffic flow. Grand Prairie Texas Approved Online Defensive Driving Training

MalcQV said...

Rob, you mention that at 70 (on your speedometer) anybody wishing to pass you is breaking the law. As the ex traffic policeman mentioned there is a 10% margin on automobile speedometers so my first point is that you may not actually be at the legal limt. Trust me that traffic police (especially a mature one) has got a far greater awareness and experience than you whether you are, IAM or ROSPA trained. Oh and
check with IAM and ROSPA on their teaching with regards to middle lane hogging.
My second is that you are not obeying the Highway Code with this practice yourself, so you are as bad as the 'speeding motorist' you're holding up.
Third point is whether the driver you are hogging is driving at the limit or not, when he/she wishes to pass they have to negotiate two lanes, this whether the law or not is you contributing to a potential risk as the driver needs to negotiate an extra lane to pass you (remember you only think you are at the limit).
When I see middle lane hoggers I assume they're either away with the fairies,lazy or have a total disregard for other motorists.
I always pull in to the near side lane and rarely struggle to get out in time, if as you say you plan ahead then it is never a problem entering lane two.
I hope you don't cause an accident with your attitude and hope a traffic cop gets to speak to you in person very soon.
I am IAM trained and with 33 years experience driving am still learning how to drive. It seems with your attitude you have a long,long way to go yet.

MalcQV said...

Randy Texdds, I've driven in many US states including Texas, you're lane laws are much different to ours in the UK, they do allow passing in either lane, much as your superb (not sure if this apples to Texas) turn right on red :)
I do think middle lane hogging would be less of a problem if we employed the US lane discipline rule.
It seems with middle lane hogging being so abundant here we're halfway there anyway :-D

Rob Parsons said...

Thank you for your comments, MalcQV. I think we are all learning how to drive. Part of learning how to drive is about driving with restraint and consideration - and yes, I know that that issue can be levelled at me as well, but if you make an assumption that anybody in the middle lane must be away with the fairies or whatever then you are not yourself acting with consideration. I do keep my eyes open and my mind on the job in hand,which is more than I can say for many of the people flashing past me at illegal speeds.

I am aware of the issue with the inaccuracy of speedometers. But the speedometer of the person behind me may be just as inaccurate as mine, so are they not bound to take that into consideration as well as me? I have been followed by police cars on motorways, but never pulled over, so presumably I haven't been doing anything too wrong in their eyes. You refer to the possibility of me causing an accident one day. I wonder if you have any statistics as to the number of accidents caused by people driving in the middle lane, as opposed to the number of accidents caused by people driving too fast.

MalcQV said...

Hi Rob,
I actually mentioned three types. One being inconsiderate. I tag you with that label. You will retort with the comment about speeding drivers I'm sure (that seems to be your main justification for being in lane two in that they won't allow you in lane two, to start with). There's no doubt a speeding motorist is acting without consideration for others but what astounds me from such an intelligent person as you seem to be is that you counter that act by driving without consideration for others.
I assume if an emergency vehicle appeared behind you, you would indeed move to lane one?

Of course I have no statistics on accidents caused by middle lane hogs, how could I? You see when excessive speed is an issue forensics can analyse distances and positions, tyre marks etc. Unless there are witnesses proving the lane two obstacle had been there for an excessive time is nigh on impossible.

In essence whilst I agree speeding is illegal and a hazard your excuse is to simply break the law by not driving in the left lane. You are in effect no different.
Two wrongs.
Do as the majority do and plan ahead, use your mirrors check where the slower moving traffic in front is and pull out in time to pass and then safely return to lane one when done. I can manage it so, you can too.
Tell me Rob when you meet slower moving traffic in lane two are you then going to sit in lane three indefinitely because speeding drivers won't let you out? Where does it end?

Rob Parsons said...

You make some good points, Malc, and you make them in a more temperate way than some of my previous commentators for which I thank you. I think one of the issues is that people address me on the basis that I use the middle lane a lot more than I actually do. I outlined the circumstances in which I do in detail in my initial post "If I am in the middle lane, with a slow moving vehicle in sight in the inside lane, when another car comes up behind me, I hold my position as I will soon be passing the slower vehicle." I am not hogging the middle lane all the time, but making my journey as smooth as I can, given that so many other drivers will not help. The outside lane is free for overtaking: the inconvenience is minimal.

Of course I would pull over for emergency vehicles. And the analogy of me being in the third lane does not apply as I made clear that in the circumstances when I choose to stay in the middle lane, the outside lane is open.

I take the point that my driving is not beyond reproach, but I do not think it is fair for people to say to me that I must obey the law punctiliously and exercise patience at all times, without also saying so to all the other people who are a lot less patient than me. You have been very critical of my driving, but you have not said a word about speeders and people who ignore lane discipline by cutting inside. They are far more dangerous than I. And if their behaviour became legal, there would be no occasion for me to inconvenience others even to the slight degree I do.

MalcQV said...

What you describe in that last post sounds like you're not a middle lane hog at all and you are driving in the conditions presented to you at a given time. I suspect you use the left lane most of the time.
I was always certain you were well aware of your surroundings and not one those (what I believe) to be away with the fairies.
I don't get annoyed by much in life at all however middle laners (and I do see an 'excuse'for it with overcrowded motorways in some instances, though I'd never condone it).
A few years back (about two/three) I was returning home from my girlfriend's house joining the M60 near Oldham, Manchester in my late Father's original Mini, as such I tended to keep to 60mph and only do 70mph on occasion :D, great cars, however as I began to merge into lane one I observed (at this point ahead of me, I was doing about 55mph, a Megane middle lane cruiser, the weather was bucketing it down and it was 11pm. On lane one behind the Megane was an LR Discovery police car and as he approached the Megane (I was a good distance back by now) he flashed the Megane driver, whom seemed to ignore/not see it. He then pulled out behind the Megane in lane two and flashed again, I saw the reflection of his blue lights in the rear of the Megane. Still nothing. The police then pulled into lane three and passed the Megane who stayed there in two, nothing at all else apart from me some 200 yards behind in lane one.
Now I can only think the police man tried to grab the attention of the Megane driver as he passed, though I could not see. The Megane continued in lane two, there was nothing else on this weekday drenched evening on the motorway at this point other than me, LR discovery and the Megane, nothing.
Eventually he passed the Megane and used his rear red sign asking the Megane to pull over and finally he/she did.
Maybe they were drunk, though I suspect just totally unaware of their surroundings and what was going on. Maybe concentrating on the heavy rain. What they were not doing for certain was noticing the traffic around them, even the blue lights of the 'emergency' vehicle.
Scared me for sure.

Rob Parsons said...

You are a gent, Malc.

I'm not sure about "most". it would be interesting to have a little machine that could monitor the precise proportion I do spend in the middle lane.

The Megane driver - yes, inexcusable. I see a similar sort of thing on country roads, though less extreme. It used to really annoy me following a slow car on windy roads, that would chase me as soon as I overtook. I thought they were being obstructive. Now I think most likely they are just not paying attention. They have no idea how slowly they are going, and they wake up suddenly when someone overtakes them.

MalcQV said...

Either way you're aware unlike the Megane driver, that it is my biggest concern about MLD.

Rob Parsons said...

I'd accept that completely. It's my biggest concern about drivers in general.

I don't BELIEVE it !! said...

Middle lane driving is not allowed, it states in the Highway Code that once you have completed your overtaking manoeuvre you should return to the driving lane.
The left hand lane is called the driving lane all other lanes are called overtaking lanes you should drive in the driving lane and use the others for overtaking.
The function of a motorway is to enable fast efficient travel, you can exceed the 70 MPH speed limit for short periods if you are overtaking, you will not be pulled over as long as once you have finished overtaking you reduce your speed and return to the driving lane.
The government spend millions on motorways if people insist on reducing a three lane road back to two lanes what is the point of investing all that money?
Also you can undertake middle lane hoggers, as there is a rule in the Highway Code that allows it, it is not ideal, but if people don’t move over what choice is there.
Middle lane hogging is on the same level as speeding; both have potential risks people who middle lane hog are ignorant to these risks, if you want me to list all the potential problem I can. Middle lane hogging should be avoided and not justified.

Rob Parsons said...

Dear I Don't Believe It

Thank you for your comments. It might help if you read my post in detail before commenting. I do not say anywhere that I stick in the middle lane come what may. I also made it clear that, in the circumstances in which I do, the outside lane is open. That nullifies the point you make that you have no choice but to undertake. I get undertaken by vehicles that have the choice to overtake on the outside. That is unnecessary behaviour, which increases the risk involved for all concerned. I am also puzzled by you saying that the Highway Code permits undertaking in certain circumstances. This is what I can find, in section 268 ( “Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake.” The prohibition is absolutely clear.

It continues, “In congested conditions, where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right. In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right.” That does not amount to a permission to move over in order to undertake.

You also say, “you can exceed the 70 MPH speed limit for short periods if you are overtaking,”. The Highway Code says ( “You mustn’t drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle.” It does not qualify that rule with any exceptions. I have made clear that I am more than happy to obey the law if everybody else does, but the law breaking of other people puts me in a position where it is safest and most reasonable for me to be in the middle lane - not all the time, I say again - but more often than I would like to be. You seem to be saying that it is OK for you to break laws you don't like, but not for me. That will not do.

Randy Texdds said...

Very nice and informative article, I really appreciate your efforts. but now the information is little bit old, as some rules has been changed.Another article which i found and want to share with friends is

Philip Mitchell said...

Would some one explain this to me if I am driving in the middle lane at seventy miles per hour and some one is tail gating me, why don't thay move into the inside lane if it is clear why should I also through my past experience I find it totally impossible to move into the inside lane on a busy motorway and keep a safe distance from the cars infront this would render lane hogging a park time law as you should keep a safe distance from these cars this is in the highway code too. I have also done some maths on traveling 60 and 70 miles per hour. So if you are traveling at a constant 60 miles an hour and your journey is 70 miles intotal you would arrive ten minutes later than if you were doing 70 miles per hour this in essence means most arguments are about 10 or twenty minutes is it worth puting your life at risk for ten or twenty minutes for me I would leave 30'mins before hand and travel at sixty and stay safe and arrive ten mins early and keep within the law. I will finish by saying in my apinion lane nd hogging law is for hot heads to get there own way and break the law. We should have a system were the inside lane is 60, middle lane is 70, a the out side lane is 80 let's face it this is what is happening anyway.

P mitchell

Philip Mitchell said...

Would some one explain this to me if I am driving in the middle lane at seventy miles per hour and some one is tail gating me, why don't thay move into the inside lane if it is clear why should I also through my past experience I find it totally impossible to move into the inside lane on a busy motorway and keep a safe distance from the cars infront this would render lane hogging a park time law as you should keep a safe distance from these cars this is in the highway code too. I have also done some maths on traveling 60 and 70 miles per hour. So if you are traveling at a constant 60 miles an hour and your journey is 70 miles intotal you would arrive ten minutes later than if you were doing 70 miles per hour this in essence means most arguments are about 10 or twenty minutes is it worth puting your life at risk for ten or twenty minutes for me I would leave 30'mins before hand and travel at sixty and stay safe and arrive ten mins early and keep within the law. I will finish by saying in my apinion lane nd hogging law is for hot heads to get there own way and break the law. We should have a system were the inside lane is 60, middle lane is 70, a the out side lane is 80 let's face it this is what is happening anyway.

P mitchell

MalcQV said...

What you describe in the first instance is not middle lane hogging. If the car behind is tailgating you and the inside is not clear then he/she should move to lane three. If it is clear then you should be in it. It's that easy.
As for your maths. Doing 60 is not much different than doing 70 from a safety point. If you hit an object at 60 it will have very similar effects to 70. So why travel at 60 at all when you could travel safer at 30 or 40?
As for different speeds for different lanes. It's obviously too complicated as it is when all the Highway Code says is drive in lane 1 when not overtaking. Why complicate it?
I have mentioned before that a system like they have in the USA where overtaking is allowed in all lanes would be good and I believe help with lane discipline. However it too would complicate matters and trying to teach an old dog new tricks is better left alone.
Stay safe by driving to your ability and the conditions whilst maintaining the law and the Highway Code.

Derek Tisbury said...

I am a bit guilty of hogging the middle lane at 70 mph whilst overtaking slower traffic, but I would be interested to know if any research has been done comparing the number of lane changes to accident figures. I have always thought, rightly or wrongly that the more times you change lanes increases you likelihood of a collision. I would be happy to move over more often if the idiots that speed recklessly (90 +) were more often punished. I also feel that moving over is "letting the bullyboy drivers" win the "game" so to speak.

MalcQV said...

If you are overtaking then you are not middle lane hogging. MLH are drivers who typically enter the motorway and move to lane 2 straight away and regardless to what exists in lane one.

You know if you are middle lane hogging in most cases. You know because you realiase that you could just move over but can't be bothered too. Most drivers with some experience know that.

You also make a very valid point about lane changing. It is a small but notable hazard. However if some one is MLH'ing and a faster driver closes in, in lane one then legally they are obliged to change to lane two and then to lane three passing the MLH and then moving back to lane one. That is a lot of lane changes because MLH refuses to move to the left because they think lane changing is unsafe.

It really is common sense and easy to do.

As a rule of thumb leave a metre for every 1mph in the dry. Therefore doing 70 you need at least 70 metres of distance between you and the vehicle in front. Work that into your decision as to when you should move back to the left hand lane after an overtake.
Also and this

All three worth a read.