Drivers who undertake on motorways face £100 fine and three points on licence

Highway Code changes slammed by Steve McNamara

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While it can be frustrating to be stuck behind a motorway driver who refuses to move into the left lane, the alternative of undertaking can result in a sizeable fine and points on a licence. If caught, the only way to avoid those is to take up a driver education course.

Rule 268 of the Highway Code states: “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.

“Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake.”

Undertaking isn’t specifically against the law, but if it’s classed as a dangerous manoeuvre, then that is illegal.

Equally, sitting in the middle lane of the motorway when there is a lane clear to the left is also an offence that police can fine drivers for.

A fixed penalty can be issued on the spot and licence points also applied.

However if traffic is congested on a road where multiple lanes are going in the same direction, it may be acceptable to pass on the inside.

The Highway Code states drivers “may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right”.

But that doesn’t mean drivers can weave in and out of lanes to pass traffic.Other times when passing on the left is acceptable is if average speed limits are in operation.

And if gantries overhead state specifically to “stay in lane”.

According to the RAC, especially reckless examples of undertaking could lead to even harsher penalties.

Undertaking could be considered dangerous driving which carries a harsher penalty of up to nine points on your licence or disqualification, a fine of up to £5000 and a court summons.

Highway code guide to overtaking:

Check your mirrors.

Take time to judge the speeds correctly.

Make sure that the lane you will be joining is sufficiently clear ahead and behind.

Take a quick sideways glance into the blind spot area to verify the position of a vehicle that may have disappeared from your view in the mirror – remember that traffic may be coming up behind you very quickly.

Check all your mirrors carefully. Look out for motorcyclists.

When it is safe to do so, signal in plenty of time, then move out.

Ensure you do not cut in on the vehicle you have overtaken  andbe especially careful at night and in poor visibility when it is harder to judge speed and distance.

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