Staffordshire Police urge drivers to use motorway lanes safely
The middle lane should only be used for overtaking with drivers who simply sit there facing punishments for lane hogging. Experts at USwitch have warned it is not uncommon to see motorists continuing to drive in the lane despite breaking guidance.
They warn many drivers don’t actually realise the common habit can be considered a form of careless driving under the law.
In June 2013, new penalties were introduced to help battle this problem which gave police extra powers to issue fines.
The new charge means road users can be issued a £100 fine and up to three penalty points on their licence for using lanes incorrectly.
The Highway Code states: “You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.
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“If you are overtaking a number of slow-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.”
USwitch warns there is a potential danger with lane hogging, especially at high speeds.
They said those travelling in the inside lane are then forced to move across two lanes to overtake the lane hogger to prevent them from undertaking.
They warn the driver has to cross four-lane changes instead of two which could put other road users at risk.
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Middle lane hogging can also promote aggressive behaviour with many road users set to get infuriated and lose their temper.
Ben Smithson, USwitch Car insurance expert said many drivers were not aware their bad habits could actually be illegal behaviour.
He said: “It’s not uncommon for drivers to pick up bad habits on the road, even if they have been driving for years.
“However many are unaware that they could be illegal and dangerous.”
The RAC said there was no clear reason why people decide to hog the middle lane when driving.
They said this could be because motorway training is not part of the driving test and therefore road users have not been taught how to use them.
However, they said this could also be down to laziness with drivers believing it is simple to sit in one lane than keep moving in between them.
Research from the AA in 2019 revealed half of drivers think middle lane hogging was getting worse on the road.
A total of 49 percent of road users say that lane hogging was getting worse despite this being one of motorists biggest pet hates.
Edmund King, AA President said lane hogging was “dangerous” and can often lead to other drivers tailgating or driving too close to other vehicles.
He said: “Middle lane hogs are always in the top three pet hates of drivers, so it doesn’t help harmony on the roads if drivers perceive the problem is getting worse.
“At best, middle lane hogs and under-takers are annoying, but the reality is these habits are dangerous. Blocking lanes often leads to other drivers tailgating which itself leads to collisions.”
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