Recently a driver on the M62 became the first person to be convicted and fined for prolonged driving in the middle lane of a motorway. The man denied the act and said it was due to heavy wind but was found guilty and fined nearly £1000 pounds as well as getting 5 points on his license.
Driving in the middle lane when you don’t have to is a common problem. The issue is often that the people that do it don’t realise the danger and inconvenience it causes. By hogging the middle lane when not actually over taking any vehicles in the left hand lane has little impact when the road is empty. However, when there are cars going faster than you are and you are sitting in what is actually an overtaking lane it can cause a number of issues.
The first is that they will then need to get round you to continue at the speed they are traveling at, but before that they are likely to brake. Braking on a motorway causes other drivers to do the same and can actually cause a traffic jam miles back down the road as the ripple of brake lights gets magnified. The second is, to get round you they either pull out into the faster lane which always carries a risk and could cause drivers in that lane to slow down continuing the traffic jam issues or they are forced to under take you, which is illegal and very dangerous.
There seem to be two types of people that hog the middle lane.
The first is people that perhaps, don’t actually know they are doing anything wrong. Some people are terrified on motorways and have not be given the proper training. They pull out into what looks like a clear lane, hit a speed they feel comfortable at and then just keep going. These people cause a lot of problems because they tend to drive at a much slower speed than any other overtaking traffic and this magnifies the issues people face to get round them.
The second type of person that seems to be middle lane hogs are people that just feel it is OK to do it. These people openly ignore the rules about using the middle lane for overtaking only. They feel they have every right to not bother pulling in and out as everyone should. They just pull out and drive along without changing lanes at all if they can help it. These people are normally traveling faster but some may also decide they not only want to travel in a lane they decide is right but at a slower speed to save fuel.
Apart from causing traffic jams, forcing other drivers to take risks to get past and even break the law middle lane hogging also causes other drivers to become angry. This may seem like the lesser of all the issues caused by this silly way of driving but it is not. Angry drivers become bad drivers, they could potentially be distracted and find themselves in a dangerous situation further up the road. Driving in the middle lane is well known for being at the top of “what annoys you most” lists about driving and that makes it even more dangerous.
The social media response to the conviction was strong. Overwhelmingly the outcry was supportive of the Police in convicting the man. The posts varied in strength but the message was clear from other road users; they don’t like middle lane hogs.
The law states the middle and outside lane are for overtaking only; in a perfect world on a quiet motorway everyone would be travel ling in the left lane and only moving out to overtake. Clearly in a traffic jam this cant be done but there is no excuse otherwise in the eyes of the law and most other road users.
Avoid a fine and being a dangerous driver and stay out of the middle lane unless you need to be there.