Having trudged up and down the M4 at the weekend I realised it is time to say it. And if anything should go viral in the UK, this should. People have no idea how to drive on motorways, in particular about lane driving. So for the benefit of those who have forgotten, have obtained their driving licences bogusly or are simply inconsiderate nobheads, here it is. In the UK we drive on the left and the rule of the road is ‘keep left.’
The majority of UK motorways have three lanes: the left lane, the middle lane and the right lane. The left lane is for driving in (see the ‘keep left’ reference above); the middle lane is for overtaking and the right lane is also for overtaking, that is, overtaking vehicles in the middle lane who are travelling more slowly but who, in turn, are actually overtaking vehicles in the left lane. Once you have completed one of these manoeuvres in the middle lane or the right lane, you should return to the left lane (see again the ‘keep left’ reference above) where you continue driving. However, there are drivers who for no logical reason, even when the left lane, the driving lane, is empty, think it is okay to drive continuously in the middle lane and ignore the left lane completely (see again the ‘keep left’ reference above).
So let us look at what effect staying in the middle lane has on a three-lane motorway. Given that the rules say you must keep to the left and should not overtake on the left, this means that anyone wanting to overtake a driver who thinks it is okay to stay in the middle lane, has to go round that vehicle and overtake on the right side, the outside lane. So, since driving in the middle lane for no reason is not confined to just a few drivers – there are lots of them out there - this means that there are queues of drivers just sitting in the middle lane when they should return to the left lane. Then those wishing to overtake those inconsiderate middle lane hoggers have to go to the outside of them, the right side, thus forming another queue. So we end up with queues of drivers predominantly occupying the middle lane and the right lane. Think about this. What that now does is effectively reduce a three-lane motorway to a two-lane motorway but with the same volume of traffic. In other words, three lanes of traffic are now occupying two lanes of motorway. The effect is slower moving vehicles, greater risk of accident and, guess what… traffic congestion. So next time you whinge about how slow it is on a motorway look at the appalling lane discipline exercised by people who like to think they are skilled drivers. The fact is, they are driving on autopilot without thinking about what they are doing.
The message here then is, STOP HOGGING THE MIDDLE LANE! (see again the ‘keep left’ reference above)