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Middle Laners - And Why They Make Motorway Driving So Dangerous

Middle Laners - And Why They Are Making Motorway Driving So Dangerous

Posted On 05 Feb, 2014

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Virtually everyone who has driven on a motorway will be familiar with the dangers of middle lane driving. There are myriad reasons not to do it, but none of these actually seem to impact on the thousands of drivers who daily hog the middle lane.

So why is this still happening? There are a few theories. One is that drivers simply lose concentration after a few hours’ motoring and just forget they are hanging longer than they ought to in the overtaking lane.

Another is that motorway driving remains a relatively insignificant part of the driving test, compared with turning correctly or parking. Until more rigorous elements of motorway driving are embedded within the test, drivers will continue to abuse safe motorway practice.

Yet more thoughts surround the argument that lots of people drive on the motorways rarely. This makes overtaking scary, and so these drivers feel safer cruising in the middle lane when actually they are ramping up the danger levels for everyone using the motorway at that time.

Intriguingly, the BBC writes that, ‘Researchers at the Institute of Psychological Science at the University of Leeds noted that older drivers have a “built-in safety mechanism” which inclines them to drive in the middle of the road to avoid manoeuvres which could test their gradually slowing reactions.

‘AA president Edmund King says there’s a very simple reason why lane-hogging is wrong. “It causes congestion.”’

Last year, the UK government set about legislating on the issue. ‘Drivers who hog the middle lane or tailgate other cars will face on-the-spot fines of £100 and three points on their licence.’ reported Sky News.

One of the key dangers is that when vehicles hog the middle lane, drivers behind become tempted to undertake using the left hand lane; an inherently dangerous practice. Equally, when drivers sit in the middle lane, frustrated people tend to tailgate them in a bid to encourage them to move back to the left.

This shortens safe braking distances, places pressure on reaction times and vastly increases the chance of potentially fatal, multiple pile ups.

Section 264 of the Highway Code explains. ‘You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. 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. Slow-moving or speed-restricted vehicles should always remain in the left-hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking.’

This really is sensible advice that everyone should be following.

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