to ask middle-lane sitters why they do it?

(290 Posts)
Gentleness Fri 15-Feb-13 12:15:27

I'm not starting this thread to criticise or belittle at all, so please don't flame me. The audi thread just got me thinking about my constant mental battle to assume the best of other drivers. I have to, as I'm naturally a harsh critic and I don't like it in myself. But while I can think someone speeding is trying to get to their sick child, or someone dithering has had a bad scare, I struggle to understand the drivers who sit in the middle line on motorways. So, tell me why so I can train my brain to be kind!

Elesbe Fri 15-Feb-13 12:17:31

Wish I knew!!!

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Feb-13 12:18:59

Because I am faster than the slow lane. If someone comes up behind me, or if there is a long clear space, I move over.

The only reason I can think of is that they think it's not worth moving back as they may have to overtake again any minute?

Or they don't realise they are doing it?

I don't think anyone sets out to do it on purpose do they?

There is no reason to sit in the middle lane at all.
That is probably my biggest bug bear on our roads.
I don't think they have any idea what they are doing.
Have no concept at all as to what is going on around them either.
And clearly no idea how to drive on motorways!
They are a hazzard and I really wish the Police would clamp down on them.
It is down right dangerous for other drivers to have to go from the inside lane to outside lane unneccesarily, when in fact they should only have to go into the next lane.
The only lane for 'sitting' in, is the inside lane. All other lanes are called over taking lanes!! FACT!!!
Move over you numpties!
YANBU by the way!

purrpurr Fri 15-Feb-13 12:20:43

Katy, there is no 'slow lane'. The speed limit is the same.

drjohnsonscat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:21:54

I try not to do this but I think the most dangerous thing in motorway driving is changing lanes so if there's a lot of lorries going at 55 in the slow lane you are going to be dodging in and out repeatedly and if there's a lot of reckoners in the fast lane doing 100mph and trying to force you out of the lane (and I never think they are getting their sick child to hospital!) then you are better off where you are until the normal pattern is restored. If those circumstances do not apply then they are just being a bit clueless.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Feb-13 12:22:01

Maybe I'm not a sitter. I do see people going slow not moving over.

When I lived in Argyll, I got so sick of people driving slowly and never pulling over to let people pass.

drjohnsonscat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:22:47

ps I know they are not called slow lane and fast lane but all that offside, nearside stuff does my head in. Near what?

CailinDana Fri 15-Feb-13 12:22:54

There are only two explanations I think - laziness and a lack of understanding of how to drive on motorways. I think the second one is a lot more common than you think. It's a bit mad that you can get a license without ever having a lesson on the motorway.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Feb-13 12:23:00

Purrpurr, lorries go slower than the speed limit.

Leather Fri 15-Feb-13 12:23:12

Ok, I'll be honest and admit that I do have a tendency to do this.
For me, I think its just a matter of slight laziness to avoid having to keep pulling out and in again for slow vehicles/trucks etc?
I know it's not good driving, as my husband will always remind me!
I do always move over if someone comes up close behind me though but if there's no one behind me I do find myself just cruising along in the middle for a while.
Sorry blush

And while we are at it why don't people shift into the middle lane to let people join the motorway from the slip road? angry

drjohnsonscat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:25:42

which is also another reason to stay in the middle lane sometimes. You know a slip road's coming up so you don't want to block it for people joining. That's how I was taught anyway.

freddiefrog Fri 15-Feb-13 12:26:40

My FiL does this

Sits in the middle lane doing 60mph.

It also drives me batshit that he drives at a steady 27mph on every other road, it's a nightmare if we're out with them and he's following us in his car as we're constantly losing them and having to pull over and wait for him to catch up

He thinks that every one else is travelling far too fast and he thinks he'll slow them all down for their own good.

KatyTheCleaningLady Fri 15-Feb-13 12:26:41

About the only time I am on the motorway is between Argyll and Manchester. I drive faster than the speed limit and the left lane is full of lorries and caravans. I am pretty much always overtaking. I go about 70-75mph, sometimes faster.

juneybean Fri 15-Feb-13 12:26:58

I don't know but I take great pleasure in speeding past the one in the middle lane whilst in the left hand lane (whilst keeping within the speed limit of course)

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 12:27:10

It's all road dependent no? On a particular stretch of the M8, the inside lane is almost continuously an exit or slip. Surely if you follow the 'only one lane' theory, why are you in the middle lane then?

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 12:27:40

I do this sometimes too. Not so much laziness, but lane changing is one of the most dangerous parts of motorway driving, so if you are actually driving at the speed limit in the middle lane, then I can't really see the problem. (Anyone overtaking you is technically breaking the law, but I've kindly left them a whole lane in which to do that). When you go into the left hand lane, you need to move back into the middle whenever you come across a slower vehicle, or when you meet a junction to let other cars into the lefthand lane. It's a lot of moving around!

Tryharder Fri 15-Feb-13 12:28:16

I do this sometimes blush

I drive frequently on the M1/A1/M62 and the left lane seems to be solely occupied by HGVs. I tend to stick in the middle lane rather than bob in and out between lorries.

If the roads are clear, I stay in the left lane. In the end, there 3 or 4 lanes so no point everyone cramming in the left lane.

AllDirections Fri 15-Feb-13 12:29:00

I agree with Hells

Katy You don't sound like a sitter cos you move over. Middle laners generally don't move into the slow lane...ever.

I also think that it's more than people don't understand how to drive on motorways. It's stressful driving when the traffic doesn't do what it's supposed to.

Sanjifair Fri 15-Feb-13 12:29:24

My dad does this. He hates getting stuck and pinned in behind lorries, apparently.

It's just because they're too scared to move and don't know the rules. The middle and outside lanes are for over taking. This makes me so angry angry it ends up making some drivers undertake which is illegal just because these people don't see why they should get in the right bloody lane

HeadFairy Fri 15-Feb-13 12:30:57

Hellsbells You're absolutely right, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. But but.... on the M25 (where I drive most regularly) congestion has become so severe now that the inside lane is almost exclusively the preserve of lorries, as they're speed limited to 56mph (I think) cars tend to go in the remaining three lanes (most of it's 4 lanes now, well my bit is grin) But the problems do get worse the more congested it gets. I've even had people telling me off for constantly changing lanes. Erm no, it's called over taking and then returning to the inside lane!

It's the ones that drive in the middle lane on a deserted motorway at 3 in the morning that get me.

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 12:32:18

(And all those people who do go right up your bum when you're doing 70 in the middle lane, just to make a point that you should move over. [Angry])

Leather Fri 15-Feb-13 12:32:38

Can I just add that I would never be in the middle lane doing less than 70 assuming the road ahead is clear/conditions are fine etc.
Sitting in the middle lane doing 60 is asking for trouble

higgle Fri 15-Feb-13 12:34:23

I think people do it because if you move over behind a lorry when you are no longer overtaking and the lorry catches up with a still slower one you are stuck there because everything is wizzing past you too quickly for you to get out. If you are a good driver you are looking ahead and anticipating and keep on overtaking at an appropriate speed until you move over into a fairly clear or quite speedy bit of the inside lane. if you are ( sorry about exposing prejudices here) over 70 , 4'2" and wearing a flat cap you just stay where you are because it is less trouble.

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 12:34:34

I wonder if all of you who get cross about middle-lane sitters get so annoyed with 90mph 'fast lane' drivers. I wonder which is more dangerous.

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 12:35:58

Just playing devil's advocate really. I mostly do move in and out and overtake as appropriate. But I have sat occasionally too.

specialsubject Fri 15-Feb-13 12:36:59

you stay in the left-most lane that is suitable. You move to the right to overtake a slower vehicle, and as others note you also move to the right IF IT IS SAFE when approaching a slip road, this makes it easier for joining traffic. It also protects you from the idiots who don't know that joining traffic adjusts its speed and doesn't just barge in.

slower vehicles should leave enough space for faster vehicles to overtake them one at a time - but as unnecessary lane changing is bad, it is best to stay in the middle lane until you have passed all the slower vehicles.

the left lane also has the worst surface - but that's just tough unless the motorway is empty. That's why people might be using the middle lane at 3am, car repairs costing what they do.

BTW the speed limit in the UK is 70, and once I have overtaken someone I will move to the left as soon as it is safe to do so, i.e. when I can see them in my driving mirror. Sitting in my boot is not going to change this. If you want to waste petrol and break the law by driving faster than 70, that's fine with me, but I am still not going to move back to the left until it is safe. Yes, YOU in the white van or the big black car.

And why do the 50mph restrictions through roadworks only apply to me?

mirry2 Fri 15-Feb-13 12:39:44

Juneybean, overtaking in the nearside lane (ie from the left) is dangerous

Beamae Fri 15-Feb-13 12:40:25

I don't understand why people get upset about people driving in the middle lane. I really don't.

I drive as far left as I can. If I am going faster than the left hand lane I drive in the middle. If you speed up behind me in the middle lane you can overtake on the right. Job done.

WillSantaComeAgain Fri 15-Feb-13 12:43:04

I have long held the (very reasonable) opinion that all cars should come equipped with James Bond style missile launchers, which you should be legally allowed to fire at any cars sitting in the middle lane. It drives me nuts, especially on the 4 lane sections of the M25, where the inside lane is empty and everyone sits in the first and second overtaking lanes.

There is a girl I regularly pass on my commute in a silver ford focus, doing around 60mph in the middle lane of the M4. In the absence of the integrated rocket system, I have flashed her on numerous occasions, but she is oblivious to her surroundings.

ClumsyClumberson Fri 15-Feb-13 12:43:25

The thing that's most dangerous about changing lanes is when you have to move out of lane 1 and into lane 3 to overtake someone sitting in lane 2 when there's no need. So all the middle lane sitters who are keeping themselves 'safe' by not changing lanes are forcing others to expose themselves to danger.

It's purely selfish and inconsiderate and I really wish the police would pull these people over. The Highway Code doesn't advocate middle lane hogging!

Sorry, this drives me mad, as does people who don't move to let you onto the motorway, dh drives over 50,000 miles a year and he is an extremely chilled driver as he sees it all tbh but middle lane drivers drive him insane.

You drive in the 'slowest' lane available for your speed. You observe the road and overtake as appropriate as often as needed!

It's really bad driving to sit in the middle lane. Honest it is!!!

drjohnsonscat Fri 15-Feb-13 12:45:42

yes I never overtake in the left hand lane even if there is a middle lane sitter. It's dangerous.

Specialsubject has it about right I think. I'm not sure it's right to feel frustrated with middle lane drivers if they are there for a reason. Agree that you shouldn't be there if you are doing less than 70 or if the left lane is empty but there are plenty of good reasons to be there

There's a tendency for motorway drivers to think the speed on this motorway should be precisely the speed I want to go at and everyone else is in the wrong.

Lol Santa!!!

ClumsyClumberson Fri 15-Feb-13 12:46:17

I don't think anyone is suggesting that people shouldn't use the middle lane to overtake a stream of traffic, but if the leftmost lane is clear you should be there.

orangeandlemons Fri 15-Feb-13 12:47:35

I hate changing lanes, it scares me. I try not to drive on the motorway. I know all the laws about which lane you should be in. However ime the inside lane is full of lorries, and the outside lane is often full of people breaking the speed limit. So which is the safest lane?

Charleymouse Fri 15-Feb-13 12:48:24

My FIL used to get told off by MIL to get out of the nearside lane as that is for the "old banger type cars" not cars like hers "the Mercedes" which she was travelling in. shock

Ha ha I think she thought the lanes were a reflection of type/status of car you were travelling in.

Personally I hate it when they cruise in the middle lane when the nearside is free. I end up overtaking constantly on some stretches of motorway which I would not need to do if they would stay in the nearside lane

Think of the car being parked at the side of a road. The side nearest the kerb is the Near side ie it is nearest the side of the road.
The side furthest away from the kerb is the Off side.
So the Near-side of the car is the Passenger's side and the Off-side is the Driver's side.

Obviously if you learn the NEAR the SIDE of the road rule then the other side has by default to be the OFF away from --the- SIDE.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 12:48:33

I mainly drive on the very congested roads of the south east where the left hand lane maintains a pretty steady 55-60mph. What, exactly, are you supposed to do if you want to drive at 70mph?

quiller Fri 15-Feb-13 12:48:44

I genuinely don't understand how it's meant to work then. On all the mways (southeast, busy) I use, the leftmost lane is full of people going slow and HGVs. If I want to go faster what should I do? Overtake every car individually? Technically I suppose I am overtaking the whole time in the middle lane - if there was space in the leftmost lane I'd move into it.

Keenoonvino Fri 15-Feb-13 12:51:54

My husband's driving instructor told him that you should sit in the middle lane on a motorway to avoid pulling in and out. I was irritated because I kept telling him it's bad driving to do that, but that's what he was told....

choccyp1g Fri 15-Feb-13 12:55:57

The reason people don't like the middle lane drivers is because they don't enjoy having to overtake in the fast lane, because it can be difficult to do so safely when there are other faster cars coming up behind them, who drive too closely to the car in front, and never hang back to let someone out.

That's the same reason why the middle lane drivers are there: because it can be dangerous to pull out from the lorry-clogged slow lane, when there are faster cars coming up in the middle lane who drive too close to the car in front never leaving a big enough gap for anyone to pull out into.

Even the drivers in the slow lane contribute to this problem, by driving too close to the vehicle in front, not leaving a gap big enough for someone to pull into.

In other words, think about whether your own driving is causing the problem.

WillSantaComeAgain Fri 15-Feb-13 12:57:34

Highway Code (264): "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"

So while, yes, it is fine to stay in the middle lane if you're overtaking a number of lorries, once you reach a point where there is a gap in the inside lane, you should move back over. Obviously judgement and common sense play a part in this, but some of the middle lane drivers seem to have been bypassed by judgement and common sense.

Wincher Fri 15-Feb-13 12:57:47

What almost irritates me more is undertaking. I try not to be a middle lane hogger, as they irritate me too, but sometimes I pull into the middle lane to overtake, then before I can pull back into the left lane, something behind me has nipped in and is undertaking me. I have occasionally been stuck on a two-lane road with several cars undertaking me, unable to pull over safely. It's so so dangerous. And I tend to drive at around 80mph, so not exactly slow! The only time I ever undertake is if someone is sitting in the right hand lane of three and I want to go faster - I sail past in the left hand lane and they still have a clear middle lane to pull into if they want. Happens surprisingly often.

juneybean Fri 15-Feb-13 12:57:51

mirry2 at no point did I say I overtook. I was in the left hand lane and remained in the left hand lane at 70mph.

akaemmafrost Fri 15-Feb-13 12:59:19

I sometimes forget I am there blush but do move over sharpish when reminded. I am not a massive offender as much prefer to tuck in at 60 in the slow lane. I don't like going fast <<quakes at thought>>

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 15-Feb-13 13:05:39

LOL at the poster whose MIL thought that there was a sort of class system for motorway lanes!!!

I generally drive in the appropriate lane and pull in and out as required. However, when there are loads of lorries I will stay in the middle lane.

My bugbear is lorry drivers who pull out without warning - especially those from abroad with the cab on the wrong side

Shenanagins Fri 15-Feb-13 13:06:36

There is a big difference in driving in the middle lane and hogging the middle lane and its the hoggers that piss everyone off.

They are the ones who will sit in the lane regardless of the traffic conditions around them as opposed to those in the middle lane as they are pretty much constantly overtaking slower moving vehicles in the inside lane.

take the other week i was pootling down a near empty motorway where i and others were in the inside lane doing 70 mph. Came across a car going slower in the middle lane, even though the inside lane was empty! I ended up undertaking them as opposed to breaking and pulling out across 3 lanes to get by them.

people like that should not be on a motorway as that is dangerous to other road users.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 15-Feb-13 13:07:19

Agree wholeheartedly with choccypg1s post

WillSantaComeAgain Fri 15-Feb-13 13:09:57

I also believe that if people are scared to be driving on certain roads or in certain conditions, they really should not be on the road without further tuition. I think it slightly absurd that motorway lessons are not compulsory - why oh why are people allowed to drive on the most difficult and scary roads without a lesson is beyond me. (Personally, I paid for a motorway lesson about three months after I passed my test. It was one of the best things I ever did, and given that it cost less than a tank of fuel, I think every driver should do it).

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 13:10:28

OP's thread title should have been "why do middle lane sitters do it when the left hand lane is clear" then.

The left hand lane being clear is an almost unknown experience for me, so, yes, I am a middle lane sitter.

Hope you understand now.

LulaPalooza Fri 15-Feb-13 13:12:17

I was also taught that if you're travelling at a constant 70mph and everyone on the inside lane is travelling at a constant 65mph then you stay in the middle lane. It would be more dangerous to keep changing lanes.

If the inside lane is clear then whatever speed you are travelling at you should be in the inside lane, allowing people to overtake.

If you're coming up to a junction and you can see that someone is going to pull onto the motorway then, if it is safe to do so, you move to the middle lane.

MarianForrester Fri 15-Feb-13 13:14:56


This thread has been a revelation: I never thought that people actually deliberately decided to sit in the middle lane, but now I know they do it makes me even more cross.

If you are too scared to change lanes you should not be driving on the motorway.

If you don't know that you shouldn't sit in the middle lane you should not be driving on the motorway.

NopeStillNothing Fri 15-Feb-13 13:15:23

The issue is not really about sitting in the middle lane. I personally have no problem coming up behind someone in ml on a busy motorway and overtaking on the right. I totally understand how it would be a PITA to keep weaving in and out
What bugs me is when there is complete ignorance of the lanes around them when the traffic flow is low, when there is enough of a gap for other drivers to be travelling faster than them in the left lane. This will then force them to either have to break the law by undertaking or overtake over 2 lanes. If someone is so unaware and inconsidrate to ignore the fact that they are being undertaken I wouldn't put it past them to change lanes without looking which is why I would always rather take the risk of crossing two lanes. I'd much rather not have to make that choice angry

TheRivieraKid Fri 15-Feb-13 13:20:10

My FIL does this - will travel a whole motorway journey in the middle lane at about 60mph. Very dangerous and stupid - but when challenged he looked at me blankly and said he's always done it. so that's ok then hmm.

He is a fucking idiot though.

I honestly think every driver should be retested to current exam standards every few years - the amount who would fail would be very high and hopefully we'd all learn not to pick up 'bad habits'. But that's another topic smile

andubelievedthat Fri 15-Feb-13 13:31:09

Motorways are the safest roads in Britain, no traffics lights,pedestrians etc, if you were involved in a r.t.c.whilst undertaking a middle lane "hogger" with that same vehicle ,you would undoubtably be found to be at fault if only because undertaking is an offence, middle lane hogging is not, and the police peeps usually start with an assumption of guilt re the person who was obviously law breaking,>>its like a jungle out there.......

GirlOutNumbered Fri 15-Feb-13 13:40:50

If you are scared AT ALL whilst driving, please don't drive or get more tuition!!

mmmuffins Fri 15-Feb-13 13:46:11

I will stay in the middle lane if the left lane has intermittent lorries (no point in switching lanes only to switch back 15 seconds later, and I tend to get trapped behind lorries if I keep moving over). But I will move over if there is a good stretch of clear road in the left lane, certainly.

I think some people behind the wheel are probably just idiots, as you find in all other walks of life. You might not get a better reason than that OP.

Smudging Fri 15-Feb-13 13:48:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mirry2 Fri 15-Feb-13 13:59:23

What I can't stand is when I'm doing 70 in the middle lane with cars in front of me and a flasher who come up behind me wanting me to move over to the 'slow lane' even though the slow lane is is also full.

DeWe Fri 15-Feb-13 14:03:34

I tend to do it on a stretch of the motorway which uses the inner lane going off for the junctions. I get scared of being stuck in the lane as it disappears off at a junction I don't like.

And actually if I'm doing 70, no one should be going faster so they can't complain. I'm doing them a favour really, saving them from a possible speeding fine. grin

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 14:06:11

Who is scared of driving? have I missed something?

drjohnsonscat Fri 15-Feb-13 14:11:08

Don't be too hard on people who are nervous of motorways. It takes a lot of practice. Lots of people would be scared to drive round Hyde Park Corner or in Paris but that doesn't make them bad drivers - just unused to it. I drive round Hyde Park Corner every day and spent a year in Paris (which improved my driving no end) so it doesn't bother me but I know lots of people don't like it. We should make allowances for drivers not being quite as brilliant and fearless as ourselves hmm

I'd rather have people be nervous than over-confident.

SashaSashays Fri 15-Feb-13 14:12:07

I'm struggling with this, mainly because I have only ever driven on motorways around/near London so predominantly M25.

I've been driving for years, I'm confident and not scared of switching lanes at all, I do it almost constantly.

However I often end up sitting in the middle lane, the left lane is full of HGVs and people doing 50mph, yes there are a few gaps but usually they are very brief and do not then give you enough room to overtake properly meaning you get trapped in the left lane until a really large gap in the middle lane appears which I find to be hardly ever.

I tend to just spend most of my time switching from middle to right lane, effing and jeffing at the gaping arseholes who are having a jolly old time crawling along in either lane, totally oblivious to everyone else. Wankers.

Which reminds me of my next point, why are some people INCAPABLE of overtaking PROPERLY. I wish I could get some missile on my car for people who pull in front at zero fucking miles an hour forcing you to nearly snog your windscreen while they trundle along up to the correct speed. Special place in hell!

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 14:16:52

Urgh Sasha! with you on this! Or to the plamf this morning who shot out in front of me at a roundabout almost on two wheels to then pootle along at nae mile an hour!?

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:17:58

And while we are at it why don't people shift into the middle lane to let people join the motorway from the slip road?

Because it is your responsibility to join the carriage way safely and not any of the drivers already on the carriageway to give way to you

orangeandlemons Fri 15-Feb-13 14:18:17

I've been driving 26 years. But I am still nervous on motorways, mainly due to the amount of dickheads who break the speed limit in the outside lane.

Why should I stop driving due to the bad behaviour of other drivers? Tailgating and speeding are the big ones, also flashing lights at you so they can get past, and carry on driving at 90 mph.

Chandon Fri 15-Feb-13 14:19:12

I am a middle lane driver.

I do not like going faster than the speed limit. But neither do I like being on the left, as that is where people " feed into" coming onto the mtorway at hugely varying speeds, and you constantly have to calculate how not to collide with cars coming onto the motorway ( slow down or speed up).

I leave the fast lane for boy racers, audi's and the emergency services.


Twattybollocks Fri 15-Feb-13 14:24:20

I drive mostly at 70 and mostly in the middle lane. I do it because there is rarely more than a 200 yard gap between lorries doing 56mph in the left lane. I don't see the point in weaving in and out so that the man sized dick in the BMW driving up my arse doesn't have to overtake me. If you want to exceed the speed limit and break the law, fine, overtake me, that's what the outside lane is for!

orangeandlemons Fri 15-Feb-13 14:26:45

I'm with tattybollocks. Left lane full of lorries, right lane full of speeding twats. The only safe place is the middle lane. However, I only do it when the other lanes are full. When they are clear I always drive in left hand lane, and that is when middle lane drivers really annoy me. No cars in sight apart from the one cruising down the middle lane......

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 14:27:52

Juneybean - why bother sticking to the legal speed limit while doing an illegal manoeuvre? That is dangerous and you would be prosecuted for dangerous driving if spotted by police or even worse causing an accident - drivers who do this liking to make a point just look like fucking wombles and worse than the middle lane hogger to everyone else.

Two wrongs don't make a right and all that.

ivy I will stop pulling into the middle lane to allow drivers to join the motorway safely in that case.

juneybean Fri 15-Feb-13 14:35:54

Which illegal manoeuvre are you referring to?

SashaSashays Fri 15-Feb-13 14:36:00

Exactly Kato, why are people so stupid. Overtaking is not difficult yet nearly every bloody time I get some twat doing it not just incorrectly but piss poorly.

I get very shouty.

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 14:36:47

Undertaking juney

Unless you are actively overtaking another vehicle you should be in the leftmost lane. Not hard to understand.

Some of you really remind me why I'm in favour of periodic retesting.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 14:39:05

Undertaking, Juney.

juneybean Fri 15-Feb-13 14:40:38

As I said in my previous post at no point am I in the middle lane, how am I undertaking. I am in the left lane constantly because it is clear, there's also a clown in the middle lane for no reason.

Is this illegal am I supposed to go from lane 1 to lane 3 in order to drive past said clown?

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 14:41:01

Since you are the expert, what do you define as "active overtaking" CommanderShepard?

Please could you word it in a way that makes it possible for the rest of us thickos to understand.

whateveritakes Fri 15-Feb-13 14:42:10

Really annoying and it happens on dual carriageways when people sit in the right lane because in about oh 7 minutes time they might just about have overtaken that lorry on the left.

Noticeably in Europe everyone is very good about using the correct lanes. There are LOADS of lorry but shock horror you still have to pull in or overtake!!!

My other half is shocking for lane hogging (comes up with the same twaddle people on here) and was beeped by angry drivers all the way across the Continent!

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:43:14

they should join safely by themselves

[ this explains how]]

Surely it's all just common sense and courtesy really? It is possible to think of other road users when you are driving believe it or not.

FlouncingMintyy Fri 15-Feb-13 14:43:56

Undertaking is when you drive past someone to the right of you. What do you think undertaking is? It is dangerous because we are trained to look for vehicles directly behind us and behind us and to the right of us, but not for vehicles behind us and to the left of us. The middle lane driver could choose the exact moment you move into their blind spot to pull back over into the left lane.

Undertaking is generally done to make a point sadly. sad

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 14:45:28

Yes juney you are meant to move In to an overtaking position - undertaking as in passing on the inside is illegal no matter where you come from - left lane/middle lane/mars

GirlOutNumbered Fri 15-Feb-13 14:46:03

It's worse on duel carriageways!

I do get the bit about them joining being their responsibility ivy, but I move over if I can because it's courteous. That would explain why nobody ever does it for me.

juneybean Fri 15-Feb-13 14:48:20

Consider me educated blush

If it was a dual carriageway what would I be expected to do, slow down and hope clown moved?

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 14:48:58

But what if I'm driving on the inside lane at 70 and meet a car in the middle lane that hogging at 50? do I have to go right into the third lane to overtake?

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 14:50:55

Yep slow down and hope they move - unless you have a monster truck in which case you can drive over the top of them (although I suspect that that is also illegal grin

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 14:51:42

juneybean - yes you are undertaking and you should move carefully to the middle lane and then the outside lane to over take the vehicle so that you over take on the right and not on the left.

active over taking is getting past a vehicle on the left rather than just sitting in the car in either of the middle or outside lane and just driving without actually overtaking vehicles unless they just happen to be there and you drive past them on the left.

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 14:52:27

Yes Katy third lane to overtake then move safely back to the left lane

juneybean - legally about the only option on dual carriageways with an outside lane hogger is to think of inventive swearwords. That's about your lot sad

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 15-Feb-13 14:52:54

I don't like drivers who sit in the middle lane doing 65mph either but i do see the logic of sitting in the middle lane when they over taking a number of vechicles over a longer period. I actually thing drivers who dodge from the middle lane to the inside lane only to move back 10 seconds later is far more dangerous!

My biggest bugbear is drivers who sit in the inside lane and don't move to the next lane (if it is clear) to allow others to join the carriageway! Instead they sit in the inside lane whilst drivers joining have to slow right down to a stop to join which is dangerous. JUST MOVE OVER!

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 14:54:20

I've literally never been in this situation (yet) but now I see why they cause so much aggro!

Apparently there's no need Chocolate, the responsibility is for the joining driver to get up to speed and pick their moment to cut someone up. sad

Or stop.

BarbarianMum Fri 15-Feb-13 14:57:53

I'm a middle lane sitter on the M1.

Left hand lane: nose to tail HGVs doing about 50mph, fast lane: mad people doing 80mph, middle lane: everyone else including me.

pnin Fri 15-Feb-13 14:59:18

I am a former motorcycle advanced trained rider who has ridden sports bikes and performance cars (safely mind, and within limits) in a range of countries (Europe, asia, n. Africa) and I generally stick to the middle and far overtaking lane on a motorway with lots of lorries simply because most near misses and accidents happen constantly overtaking slower vehicles.

That said, with a motorbike rider's sensibilities I like to make progress and am hypervigilant so if anyone was steaming up behind me I'd let them pass.

I am fully aware this is not best practice as it is written

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 14:59:47

On my way home from work, my exit is just after a slip, so I stay in that lane due to the heavy traffic. I always try to let at least one car in but almost every night without fail I encounter someone who just cant join the bleddy motorway! they either want to come hurtling out the second the broken lines start, or have no idea how to adjust their speed up or down to go into the large gap (complete with me flashing them) Almost makes me not want to bother anymore.

An occasional thanks would be nice too.

pnin Fri 15-Feb-13 15:01:16

Mind you I live in london (lorries in the near lane) and drive an Audi !

There's more often than not some arse who joins (after my invitation) then goes diagonally into the outside lane and roars off for no reason whatsoever.

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 15:05:09

why on earth would you need to stop the car when joining a motorway due to a driver not moving over to allow you too join -you should be judging the speed and slip in behind their car.

I will add in france the skip roads are very short but it is never a problem there either -you judge the speed and slip in between the cars to join the carriage way

Because there are no gaps big enough and nobody will let you in?

Goldmandra Fri 15-Feb-13 15:08:27

*I am a middle lane driver.
I do not like going faster than the speed limit. But neither do I like being on the left, as that is where people " feed into" coming onto the motorway at hugely varying speeds, and you constantly have to calculate how not to collide with cars coming onto the motorway ( slow down or speed up).
I leave the fast lane for boy racers, audi's and the emergency services.*

I find posts like this terrifying.

When driving on a motorway you have a responsibility to be constantly and consistently complying with the highway code. This entails remaining vigilant to the actions of all the drivers around you and using the lanes appropriately for the safety of everyone on the carriageway.

The first lane is for driving in whenever it is available. The second and third lane are for the purpose of overtaking only.

It isn't rocket science but like all motorway driving it requires effort and your complete attention.

If you want to cruise along without having to worry about making adjustments for others around use please use the train or the coach in future.

MrsDeVere Fri 15-Feb-13 15:08:51

I use the middle lane if I am doing the speed limit.

Why would anyone need me to move if they are doing 70 as well?

I do not understand why people get so het up about it. If you are doing 50mph on the M1, get in the slow lane. If you are doing 70mph surely you are supposed to be in the middle lane?

If you are speeding, you are a twat.

idococktailshedoesbeer Fri 15-Feb-13 15:09:16

I've been on the M62 many a time with hardly a car on the road (I work funny hours). You have to pull out of the slow lane, into the middle, into the fast, back to the middle, then back to the slow because of some stupid idiot in the middle lane. You'd think when they saw my car pirouetting across the motorway because of them they'd realise and pull in, but no they carry on their merry way. I am tempted to undertake but it's illegal and highly dangerous so I don't. angry There are always loads of coppers on the M62, I think they should be pulling these people over.

LessMissAbs Fri 15-Feb-13 15:11:08

At least you live somewhere there is a middle lane for them to sit in. On the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are only two lane and the naturally inclined middle lane dreamers dwellers sit in the overtaking lane, thus reducing the average speed to 40mph. You will actually get beeped at and flashed if you dare to move back in and out, as if you are doing something very radical and offensive, and the overtaking lane sitters will speed up so as to block you moving back into it to overtake...

I wonder if these drivers are related to the ones that slam their brakes on to slow down for 60mph on dual carriageways with national speed limits.

LessMissAbs Fri 15-Feb-13 15:12:31

Mrs DeVere I do not understand why people get so het up about it. If you are doing 50mph on the M1, get in the slow lane. If you are doing 70mph surely you are supposed to be in the middle lane?

You need to take some lessons on motorway driving.

There is no such thing as a fast and slow lane. There is an inside lane and one, two or three overtaking lanes. You should drive in the inside lane and use the overtaking lanes as necessary.

its not rocket science.

I hardly have to go on the motorway any more. Most of my driving is now rural. Country lanes, mainly flooded at the moment with passing places. But sadly there are lots of people that haven't a clue how to drive on those sort of roads either. <sigh>

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 15:15:39

sparkling - how big is your vehicle that the gaps are not big enough?

Sorry but you seem to have it in your mind that other vehicles should be letting you in and this may be the problem that instead of looking for gaps and altering your speed to slip into the gap - you are waiting for others to adjust their vehicles into another lane to make room for you.

haha, don't any of you drive in California. Seriously, don't do it! Our state driving rules say

"Drive in the lane with the smoothest flow of traffic. If you can choose among three lanes, pick the middle lane for the smoothest driving. To drive faster, pass, or turn left, use the left lane. When you choose to drive slowly or enter or turn off the road, use the right lane.

If there are only two lanes in your direction, pick the right lane for the smoothest driving.

Do not weave in and out of traffic. Stay in one lane as much as possible."

Complete opposite of what you are all saying. The weaving in and out slows traffic and makes accidents more likely. They would much rather you pick a lane that matches your speed and stick with it.

Fillyjonk75 Fri 15-Feb-13 15:18:24

I pull up alongside them in the inside lane sometimes without actually undertaking - enough to make most people go a bit faster to overtake me or drop behind and pull in.

It is necessary to be in the middle/fast lane sometimes though- e.g. on the M25 in three lanes of solid traffic it would be positively dangerous to keep changing lanes, plus there might be a filter where different roads join coming up and the middle one is often the correct choice rather than keeping left which would take you onto another road, plus there are often two lanes of lorries going up a long hill and one/two of cars. But where the traffic is thinner and not loads of junctions/lorries/hills, there is no reason to stay in the middle.

Goldmandra Fri 15-Feb-13 15:19:45

But sadly there are lots of people that haven't a clue how to drive on those sort of roads either.

Like the guy who drove too fast round a sharp bend on a country lane straight into the back of my DH's company vehicle which had broken down. He then screamed at my DH for leaving him nowhere to go.

Fortunately the police officer pointed out that had he been driving slowly enough that he could stop within the distance he could see he wouldn't have needed anywhere to go.

There are idiots everywhere but I find those on motorways the most worrying by a long way.

I'm not really talking about my experiences in joining motorways. When I used to do it twice daily it was nose to tail stop start and no gaps so people let you in otherwise I would have been on the slip road all day. grin

I certainly wouldn't wait for anyone to move over or put themselves out.

On the country lanes it's always me that has to be nearly in the ditch. sad Gold that is exactly what I am talking about. Driving as if there isn't likely to be a horse round the corner or a deep flood.

I have driven in California Self. It was, um, interesting. grin

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 15:24:22

Lesmissabs - do you mean you undertake?

LessMissAbs Fri 15-Feb-13 15:25:27

selfconfessed "Complete opposite of what you are all saying. The weaving in and out slows traffic and makes accidents more likely. They would much rather you pick a lane that matches your speed and stick with it. "

Is the speed limit also 50mph there? Personally I find overtaking and moving back in keeps me alert.

I must say I enjoyed driving all over Holland, Belguim and Germany on holiday this year. I had no problems, not one toot or flash of the lights, and the only time I had to take evasive action was to avoid British tourists driving at 55mph in the middle lane of the autobahn. The lane disciplines so good there that I was able to drive about 110mph (the speed of the average German hasufrau) and make great progress.

Got back to Scotland, 40mph on the M8, everyone in the overtaking lane with the exception of one lorry 3 miles in the distance...

Want2bSupermum Fri 15-Feb-13 15:27:02

Living in NJ, USA the driving is insane. I have been very disappointed to see the practice of sitting in the middle lane has emigrated to the UK. It is very dangerous, namely the middle lane ducks are forcing drivers who are trying to overtake to cross an additional lane. Undertaking is very dangerous and much more common when you have middle lane ducks.

self NJ has something similiar in their code too. The driving here is shocking. About 6 years ago now I saw a women in the 2nd lane of a 3 lane highway painting her toenails. She then lowered the window and stuck her foot out the window. I assume to dry her nails. The thought of it just shocks me still to this day.

Kendodd Fri 15-Feb-13 15:27:05

I tend to sit in the middle lane. I do it because I am just about always going faster than the cars in the slow lane. I do pull in and out sometimes but when I do this it means I am almost constantly changing lanes and end up spending less that 20 seconds at a time in the slow lane anyway. I do move out of the way if something faster is behind me. I don't really understand why people get upset about it. It seems like people get angry about it because it's breaking a rule rather than actually thinking if the 'rule' really is the best way to drive or not.

LessMissAbs Fri 15-Feb-13 15:27:21

I do not mean undertake maddening. Why would you think that? Do people really not learn how to drive on motorways in this country? Why would you need to undertake if you simply move back into the inside lane once your overtaking manoevure is complete?

Still loving MrsDeVere 's claim there is a slow lane on motorways. I now have visions of me cycling along it, or alternatively it being full of horse drawn traffic...

Sidge Fri 15-Feb-13 15:32:16

But if there are vehicles eg lorries in the inside lane going slower than you then you're not being a middle-lane hog.

A middle lane sitter is one who persists in staying in that lane when the inside lane is clear for some distance. A lorry being in the inside lane, or a slip road joining 3/4 mile ahead doesn't preclude you from moving across.

Oh and undertaking (passing on the right) is not illegal on most freeways too -- in California.

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 15:35:36

LesMis - horse drawn traffic on the motorway - is that the supermarket HGV's?

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 15:40:41

Les Mis The M8 is the pits. From the Kingston bridge to junction 15 eastbound... every day.. my fury knows no bounds!

Eh, having been here 14yrs I am now used to it. It was exhausting driving on the M4/5 this summer, in out in out, shake it all about, do the hokey cokey. I was constantly overtaking. People are darting all over the place in and out. I like the smoother driving better. The drivers I hate here are the speed demons weaving in and out to go an extra 5 mph.

Plus our freeways tend to have many many more exits than motorways in the UK. It is not unusual in metro areas to have an exit every half to one mile, if you sit in the slow lane you would be constantly changing lane. Plus many of our freeways have 4-10 lanes each way.

Our freeways are usually 65mph in my area with some areas of 70mph. General flow of traffic in non-peak hours is usually 70-80 though.

San Diegans though have zero clue on how to drive in wet weather and our roads are very slick because the rain is less frequent and road builders don't build sufficient camber in to drain them properly. Driving in the rain is unbelievably bad here.

Want2be, I saw someone on a 10 lane freeway driving at speed looking in the mirror and putting mascara on with both hands one time. She was using her knees to steer. OMG.

maddening Fri 15-Feb-13 15:45:22

In your example lesmiss "on the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow, there are only two lane and the naturally inclined middle lanedreamers dwellers sit in the overtaking lane, thus reducing the average speed to 40mph. You will actually get beeped at and flashed if you dare to move back in and out, as if you are doing something very radical and offensive, and the overtaking lane sitters will speed up so as to block you moving back into it to overtake."

Gives the impression that there are 2 lanes and you are moving to the left lane to "overtake" which would actually be undertaking.

Which is why I asked incase I had read it wrong.

tallulah Fri 15-Feb-13 15:58:56

We saw a classic one on the M5 at 11.30 last night. Completely empty road. Us and one other. The one other was in the middle lane, doing about 60mph. Overtaking nothing.

On the way out, in the roadworks bit got stuck behind a couple of cars that thought 50mph means 40mph and dropping. Kept having to brake, so went to pull out. Great big queue of vehicles in the middle lane belting up behind me so I wait for them to pass.

Except the last one in the queue doesn't pass. He just sits next to me, doing exactly the same speed (bearing in mind he must have been going faster to catch me up). The cars in front of him have cleared but no, he just sits there. I have to slow down even more so that I can pull out behind him. Having done so I find I'm nearly in his boot, because presumably he has slowed even more. I can't pull into the outside lane because they are doing 50mph and I'm now under 40mph. So then he starts braking, and gesturing in his mirror that I'm too close angry. Of course I'm too close because you first prevented me from getting out and now you are stopping me getting past you. When I did get past he was about 85 and gestured at me shock. I'm not the one being an arsehole.

DH says he can't understand why people play stupid games like that because you don't know when the person you've upset is going to come after you and pull a knife. I was tempted

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 15-Feb-13 16:00:42

"Sorry but you seem to have it in your mind that other vehicles should be letting you in and this may be the problem that instead of looking for gaps and altering your speed to slip into the gap - you are waiting for others to adjust their vehicles into another lane to make room for you."

That is the attitude i hate! When i am on a moterway i ALWAYS either move over to the next lane to allow others to join or if that is not possible i slow slightly to make a gap for someone to join. It may not be in the highway code as law but it is common sense and courtesy to do so. Any driver who stubbernly sits on the inside lane with an empty outside lane next to them and doesn't move over to allow others to join is a very selfish driver indeed, especially when there are lots of cars trying to join.

Where i live we have a stretch of dual carriage way that has had to be put down from 50 to 40 mph because of accidents at the slip where people join (the slip is very short and cars often have to stop completely on the slip until someone gives way thus when they do join they have to excelorate very quickly from 0-50 otherwise someone coming up will crash into them.) If people just moved over to the other lane before hand (there is a "slip approaching" sign beforehand) then cars could join safely and we wouldn't need to speed limit reduced. The slip was the only place accidents happened. Even now, as soon as i get to the "slip approaching" sign i move over to the other lane. It's common sense.

austenozzy Fri 15-Feb-13 16:01:56

I think the OP was referring to people like in tallulah's first example above, where the motorway is quiet but idiots still sit in the middle lane and turn a three lane highway into a single lane carriageway for anyone overtaking.

If there's a load of lorries in lane one, then use lane two until it's clear. No one is saying to weave in and out of individual lorries!

ChocolateCakePlease Fri 15-Feb-13 16:04:20

"LesMis - horse drawn traffic on the motorway - is that the supermarket HGV's?"

Brilliant grin

wintertimeisfun Fri 15-Feb-13 16:06:46

i think alot of people don't realise that the middle lane is like the fast lane, an overtaking lane...alot of cars, especially audios :-D won't be seen dead in the slow lane..

wintertimeisfun Fri 15-Feb-13 16:07:07

* i meant audis :-D

Geekster Fri 15-Feb-13 16:10:09

My DH calls them clods (centre lane only drivers).

ElliesWellies Fri 15-Feb-13 16:16:52

I understand middle-lane sitters to be people who ignore an empty left-hand lane to remain in the middle lane. You are not a middle-lane sitter if you are continually overtaking a number of slower vehicles in the left-hand lane. Nor should you be sliding back into small gaps in the left-hand lane... if you can see another slower vehicle ahead then it is safer to stay out than keep weaving.

Those of you who say it is not the responsibility of those already on a road to pull over to the middle lane to allow people to join from a slip road: technically, you are right. It is, however, polite to do so where it is safe. And have any of you tried joining the M25 with solid nose-to-tail lorries in the left-hand lane? Luckily many of them will let you in, as when traffic is heavy it is pretty much impossible to get onto the road otherwise.

I do drive the middle lane when I'm going faster than the slow lane or when there are a lot of on ramps and traffic coming onto the road, that way I'm not constantly trying to pull into the middle lane to let them on.
Being in US the freeway is always busy anyway so it's not like I find lots of big empty stretches in the slow lane.
Where are these big empty stretches in the slow lane on the motorway? When I drove in UK it would be all lanes full of cars 90% of the time.
I hate getting stuck between a couple of big trucks so stay out of their way as much as possible.
I pass on all sides, as you can here, but when I first moved here it used to scare the crap out of me.

MrsBW Fri 15-Feb-13 16:29:34

If you're scared to change lanes, stay off the motorway until you've had additional tuition.

It is not more dangerous to change lanes unless you don't look properly and check your blind spot whilst doing so. I have no idea why people would say that it is? (Genuine question)

I sit in the left hand lane where possible, anticipate slow moving traffic coming up. Keep an eye on what's behind approaching me and therefore rarely get 'caught' in the inside lane.

I also move into the middle lane if traffic comes down the slip road and is looking to join.

It really isn't rocket science. Having said that, the stretch of motorway I travel regularly is quiet... When it's busy chances are you will spend live in the middle lane anyway, especially the M6 and M1.

Undertaking is illegal in the UK but perfectly legal in Australia and is SO much better once you get used to having to check both sides before changing lanes. The irony is, there you rarely have to change lanes!

Goldmandra Fri 15-Feb-13 16:41:24

I hate getting stuck between a couple of big trucks

How can you get stuck between two other vehicles. It is you who controls how far you travel from the vehicle in front of you. If you need more space take it.

MrsDeVere Fri 15-Feb-13 16:44:54

So the middle lane is for people who wish to drive above the speed limit confused

What is the problem if the person in front of you is doing 70mph? Genuinely. How would that inconvenience you?
Unless you wanted to maintain a speed above that?
No need to be snarky. Although I am not surprised tbh. People who drive like that tend to be a bit on the aggressive side.

You can easily get stuck between trucks in some areas here because in some areas you have two constant lines of close together trucks going the speed of snail and there is no space to move sideways. One reason I hate driving the central valley at night.

MrsBethel Fri 15-Feb-13 16:45:48

*MrsBW Fri 15-Feb-13 16:29:34
If you're scared to change lanes, stay off the motorway until you've had additional tuition.*


And people who won't pull over to let cars on from slip roads are probably the sort of people who'll let a door slam in someone's face, or push you out of the way to bustle onto a bus: Arseholes.

amillionyears Fri 15-Feb-13 16:49:59

"If you are doing 70 mph, surely you are supposed to be in the middle lane"?

That is not how motorway driving works.

fluffyraggies Fri 15-Feb-13 16:50:08

I would like to echo that there are no specified speeds for lanes.

They are not the slow, medium and fast lanes.

No 50mph ish = slow lane.
No 70mph ish = middle lane.
No 90mph ish = fast lane.

It's simple:
Your lane is governed by the flow of traffic around you NOT YOUR SPEED.

If there's nothing in the lane to your left for the next few minutes - bloody move over!

This applies to vehicles in the 3rd lane as well.

The highway code doesn't make provision for
I don't "like" changing lanes.
Or that the car behind you "shouldn't be going that fast".
Or that you "tend to get stuck".
Or that "there'll be something else to overtake even if i cant see it yet".
Or "I'm not breaking the speed limit so i can drive where i like".


MrsDeVere Fri 15-Feb-13 16:51:08

I cannot stand people who weave in and out of lanes desperately trying to gain a few feet. They inevitably end up in about the same place as everyone they have tried to kill on their way there.

I wish people would not be so macho about driving. People who wouldnt dream of being so aggressive on the pavement behave like total morons when they are in a car.

Everyone is an idiot apart from them.

LulaPalooza Fri 15-Feb-13 16:54:42

ChocolateCakePlease - here's some chocolate cake for you, for this:
When i am on a moterway i ALWAYS either move over to the next lane to allow others to join or if that is not possible i slow slightly to make a gap for someone to join. It may not be in the highway code as law but it is common sense and courtesy to do so. Any driver who stubbernly sits on the inside lane with an empty outside lane next to them and doesn't move over to allow others to join is a very selfish driver indeed, especially when there are lots of cars trying to join.

I could not agree more.

MrsDeVere Fri 15-Feb-13 16:55:12

I will go into the middle and then move over if it is appropriate. That is not the same as sticking in the inside lane and popping out every so often. How many people actually do that?
Mostly the people who moan about the middle lane being hogged are the ones who think the NSL doesn't apply to them. An extra few MPH don't hurt do they? I mean not if you are a really good driver.

How does motorway driving work then? Like a race? You have to get in front of the person in front of you? Even if they are driving at speed?

I tend to just want to get to my destination in one piece.

Goldmandra Fri 15-Feb-13 16:55:43

You can easily get stuck between trucks in some areas here because in some areas you have two constant lines of close together trucks going the speed of snail and there is no space to move sideways.

You just back off a little so that there is more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If the lane to the right of you is also busy you indicate your intention to pull out and move across once there is a suitable opportunity. If traffic is heavy you may have to wait some time but in those circumstances remaining in the middle lane wouldn't make you a hogger anyway.

KatoPotato Fri 15-Feb-13 16:58:07

You don't have to change lanes to let someone enter via a slip road.

LittleEdie Fri 15-Feb-13 16:58:53

Because I'm daydreaming and haven't realised that the inside lane is free.

amillionyears Fri 15-Feb-13 16:59:36

If people have to describe to people who are already driving, how motorway driving works, then the person needs to read the Highway Code and get some specific lessons on the motorway.

Goldmandra, good luck, you could be stuck for a very long time no matter how much you back off.

fluffyraggies Fri 15-Feb-13 17:06:28

Mostly the people who moan about the middle lane being hogged are the ones who think the NSL doesn't apply to them.

And many middle lane hoggers seem to think what they're doing is ok because they are somehow helping to enforce the NSL.

How does motorway driving work then? Like a race?

No, it works by every one driving at least 50mph, and if you want to go faster but have a vehicle in front of you, you use the lane to your left to go round it. When you've gone round it, and if the road ahead is clear, you move back again.

ChocolateCakePlease, I am so glad I am not the only one. Courteous. On a motorway. Who'd have thought it?

Remember we also get trucks like this , get a couple of those in a row and you are boxed in for a while, especially during tomato season.

I wouldn't be a hogger anyway because our laws encourage middle lane driving as I've said.

fluffyraggies Fri 15-Feb-13 17:08:06

You use the lane to your right to go round it that should be.

I didn't like your crossroads where the first person there has right of way Self. sad

BelindaCarlisle Fri 15-Feb-13 17:08:54

has anyone admitted to it yet?

fluffyraggies Fri 15-Feb-13 17:14:15

There are occasions when you find you are going along in the middle lane for a while.

If the 1st lane is full, with lots of traffic moving slower than you, or they are slowing right down, (or are even stationary).
Or if, as has been mentioned, there is a junction coming right up and you want to let traffic in before moving over.

But there's no reason to cruise along in the middle 'because you're doing 70'.

AbyCat Fri 15-Feb-13 17:15:57

My mother does this, and it drives me mad. She says it's because the lanes are too narrow get rid of the X5 then muv, please so she doesn't like going in lane 1 or 3 in case she scrapes the barriers! I despair. I wish there was some kind of law that says you have to retake your theory test every 10 years or so. For people like my mother who last looked at the Highway Code in the 60s, it would be a great help.

I also totally agree with the posters above who mentioned driving on the Continent, I never seem to see this problem there, and even on the 2 lane motorways, the outside lane is just used for overtaking even with the lorries when the amount of traffic dictates it. So much easier.

I'm not a major culprit, so don't flame me either ! But I think I do understand some of the reasons ....
Basically it can feel safer and easier than repeatedly changing lanes to over-take a succession of slow-moving lorries. As someone else said if there's plenty of space in the first lane surely few would stay in the middle ? But changing lanes does feel and surely is a more difficult and dangerous thing to be doing than maintaining a regular speed in one lane.
So, about confidence and a perception of safety and ease I'd say.
I think there are much worse driving crimes such as speeding & tail-gating - crimes that most middle-lane Charlies steer clear of in the main !

LulaPalooza Fri 15-Feb-13 17:19:41

I loved driving in California, everyone seemed pretty considerate and once I had got my head round a 10 lane motorway it was a breeze.

Driving in South Africa, on the other hand... <shudders>

I don't know how people get off a ten hour flight, get in a hire car with the steering wheel on the wrong side then navigate to their hotel in LA.

wildfig Fri 15-Feb-13 17:28:53

I have a small, light sports car and I find that it tramlines quite badly in the inside lane on stretches of motorway that have a lot of heavy haulage vehicles wearing down the surface. This can be quite scary, especially in the wet, so if the road's clear around me, I'd tend to drive in the middle lane where the road surface is more even. Obviously I keep a constant check on everything around me and move accordingly!

Goldmandra Fri 15-Feb-13 17:46:41

Because I'm daydreaming and haven't realised that the inside lane is free.

You cannot be serious!!

Daydreaming like that is life threatening and not just for you!

Do you also not realise that the car in front has braked and plough into the back of it?

If you really do this please don't get behind the wheel of a car again. You might be on the same motorway as my children.

MarianForrester Fri 15-Feb-13 19:38:40

Opportunity for a Mumsnet Academy Driving School, I reckon, after reading this

lecce Fri 15-Feb-13 19:45:32

I can't believe what I'm reading here. I don't know who are worse- those who are ignorant of the rules, those who are 'too scared' to be driving or those who see themselves as guardians of the legal speed-limit. hmm

I drive on the M1 daily and it is infuriating when there is a little bunch of traffic all jammed together, and ahead a clear stretch of road that no one can get to because of a combination of middle-lane-hoggers and drivers-up-my-arsers. angry.

LittleEdie Fri 15-Feb-13 19:53:46

Goldmandra - I am serious!

I used to use the middle lane when I was less confident, but now I drive properly.

And can I clear up a misunderstanding that drives me nuts? A dual carriageway is where there are two carriageways separated by a central reservation, not a piece of road where there are two lanes in each direction.

We live near a stretch of beautiful dual carriageway with NSL signs on it. The number of people who slam in the brakes to drop from 63 to 50 at the speed cameras... angry ARGH.

LessMissAbs Fri 15-Feb-13 20:40:08

It really is frightning how many incompetent drivers are willing to happily admit that their inability to carry out basic driving manoevures such as joining a motorway off a slip road, overtaking on a motorway and changing lanes adversely affects their driving.

As well as a basic skill in driving, the above are also pretty damned logical - if you cannot do this correctly, why on earth not find out how to drive safely??

I had one typical but potentially dangerous incident on the M90 (two lanes motorway) last weekend - road ahead was empty, broad daylight, except one car sitting in the outside (only overtaking) lane about two miles ahead. It was doing less than 70mph, because I caught it up. Perhaps it was doing about 60mph. I sat politely behind for a mile or so, hoping the driver would notice me and move in. Nope. I put on my right indicator, which is a signal someone wants past. Nothing. Another car came up behind me and began to tailgate me for sitting in the overtaking lane without overtaking but then realised what was happening and backed off. Now the first driver noticed, stared at me in his rearview mirror for a bit, then moved over deliberately slowly, straddling both lanes for 30s or so. I had thought I was going to be able to overtake normally and had to abort my manoevure by slowing because of this, and the car behind me nearly ran into the back of me.

As I overtook the first car, the guy gave me a sort of sarcastic wave. I ignored him (I try to avoid and not react to dangerous drivers) but the car driver behind me drove alongside him for a while with his lights flashing and beeping and gesticulating - it looked as though it was going to be a road rage attack.

Fortunately there was no accident, but I have no doubt that the incompetent first driver thinks himself a great, safe driver, and I'd rather meet the second driver on the road anyway, who although faster, was far more aware.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:46:34

To wind up everyone else obvs!

So if I doze off takes longer to crash?

Coz slow too slow and I hate BMW lane hoggers and flashers in fast....?

Coz it winds up dp....

Coz I feel like it and like space around me when all others fade away

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 15-Feb-13 20:48:06

Why can I ask please do people slowdown to go up hill? Seriously? There's a stretch on m25 they do it all the time. Why????!

The thing I don't understand is, how do you know these people are 'middle lane hoggers' - presumably you are driving past them so only see them for a minute? How do you know they're not just there while overtaking some lorries themselves?

LessMissAbs Fri 15-Feb-13 20:53:40

I personally suspect its the lack of visible lorries within 4 miles either way that usually gives it away, blondredhead

Well I slow down to go uphill because there's a hole in my turbo pipe. Goes like a rocket downhill though hmm.

Undertaking is horrifically dangerous - more people than you'd hope don't bother to indicate when they're moving right into a lane, but even fewer people than that bother to look or indicate when they're pulling back in to the left. Death on a stick, undertaking is.

Oh, and a cultural thing... you know when you're overtaking on a normal road, you keep your indicator going for as long as you're overtaking, then indicate the other way to show you're pulling back in?

Well, all over the south of France people do this on motorways as well; a little ticky reminder in your car that YOU SHOULD FINISH OVERTAKING NOW.


SinisterBuggyMonth Fri 15-Feb-13 21:11:30

There are a hell of a lot of people out there with sick kids being rushed to hospital. The peodiatric A&Es must be full to bursting.

PrideOfChanur Fri 15-Feb-13 21:13:42

I will let people onto the motorway from a slip road,if I can,and into my lane,and to pull out of a junction - but I'm not keen on the not uncommon situation where you can't move out to the middle lane,your lane is moving briskly along,and some twit is steaming up much too fast on your nearside.Do you
a) Keep going and wait for them to plough into you
b) Brake and wait for the car behind to plough into you
c) Move out and wait for the lorry on your off side to plough into you

Joiners do have some responsibility to try to merge properly and not just accelerate and hope everyone else gets out of the way.

I do agree Pride sometimes there's nowhere for anyone to go.

ivykaty44 Fri 15-Feb-13 21:36:07


If you have one driver in the inside lane, you judge there speed and alter yours accordingly - the problem is then when they don't change lanes and blood slow down to let you in - I had clocked there speed and so altered mine to slip in behind - now they have changed there speed I don't know whether they are going to change there speed again or what they are going to do? But also due to them slowing down my speed needs to be altered - it becomes dangerous

If you have a driver on the inside lane and nothing on the outside lanes - he doesn't need to move if he wants to stubbornly - as you put it - stay on the inside lane they are in, you and several cars coming down the slip road can adjust your speed to come in in front and behind

zwischenzug Fri 15-Feb-13 21:42:02

I am a middle lane driver.

Actually the generally accepted term is "Middle lane moron".

I think a lot of it is people who don't know how to drive on motorways, seeing as you aren't allowed on them until you've passed your test, and then you're set lose on them without any tuition (and most people are too lazy to read up on how to drive on them).

Then you have the dopey types several of whom have posted here things like "I am doing 70mph, why would I be getting in anyones way". Actually I think you'll find if your speedo says 70mph, you are more likely doing 63-65mph, because speedos always over-read. So you are getting in the way, and quite frankly, if you take it upon yourself to police the speed everyone else is going at, the biggest twat on the road is you.

zwischenzug Fri 15-Feb-13 21:43:25

btw i say that as somebody who mostly drives at 60mph in the left lane so middle lane morons don't affect me that much. Although the ones who overtake me at 60.01mph whilst I'm coming up behind a lorry doing 50 are knobs.

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 21:55:28

Ha ha zwisch. Are you actually joking? This whole thread is about policing people's driving! That is what the thread is about so why are you on it, if you don't do it and have nothing to add.

ohdobuckup Fri 15-Feb-13 21:55:40

And another thing...SLOW OVERTAKERS!!! the number of times I see people changing lanes to overtake and then barely crawl pass the other vehicle, as if wanting to wave and have a chat with the other driver... just get on with it, put some speed and distance on and then get back in the leftest lane ..grrrr

But.. joining fast roads from slip roads is a nightmare, all very well saying match your speed to other cars and find a space, it often just doesn't work that way...often everyone is bombing along and wont or cannot move and then you are running out of slip road and getting a bit desperate!!

I try and move over to let slip drivers in or even slow down, everyone needs some space

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:01:02

"It is down right dangerous for other drivers to have to go from the inside lane to outside lane unneccesarily, when in fact they should only have to go into the next lane." Hardly.

"I take great pleasure in speeding past the one in the middle lane whilst in the left hand lane (whilst keeping within the speed limit of course) " Now that IS downright dangerous, Juneybean . Really fucking dangerous. Much worse than sitting in the middle lane, and you could get done for it.

zwischenzug Fri 15-Feb-13 22:02:19

It's the police's job to police peoples driving, if people want to drive at 100mph then on their head be it if they get caught or crash into a tree.

Why try and slow them down yourself? My guess is some people see people overtaking as getting one over on them, when actually the overtaker doesn't give a fuck s/he just wants to get where they're going.

I don't personally care what people do as long as they aren't being wilfully obstructive, but thats exactly what MLMs are.

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 22:05:00

Middle lane sitters are mostly not trying to slow anyone down (speaking for myself). But you do feel justified to be there if you are going 70mph - people still have a full lane to break the speed limit in. Do they really need 2 lanes to break the law in?

MerryMarigold Fri 15-Feb-13 22:06:05

(Also zwisch it is very naive to say on their own heads be it. Sadly it mostly involves a lot of other people's heads as well).

jjuice Fri 15-Feb-13 22:06:18

because they are wazzoks.

astounded at some peoples reasons for breaking the law.

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:06:57

I think much middle laning is down to listening to the Beautiful South on the stereo, or nattering to the kids to keep them from fighting in the back. When I pass middle laners, they have a sort of oblivious look about them.

But I don't get narked or antsy. Life's too short. And shorter if you let your mood affect your driving.

zwischenzug Fri 15-Feb-13 22:13:09

Again I'd suggest that your 70mph is probably 65mph because your speedo will almost always overread. I guess a frequent scenario might be you have somebody doing 75 and somebody doing 80+ and if they only have one lane to overtake people doing 65 in lane 2, it leads to frustration and road rage.

Whether they're breaking the law or not I don't think is the issue, holding people up does make people disproportionately angry, and angry drivers are more likely to do something stupid and crash. Much more likely to crash than say, somebody doing 100mph in a clear lane. Why not just let them get on their way, it isn't going to do you any harm.

I drive on the motorway everyday and much of it is a 4-lane stretch, it amuses me somewhat that as I'm cruising in lane 1 in acres of space, lane 3 and 4 and often packed and going slower than I am, because MLMs refuse to move into lane 2. Makes my drive easy as I can overtake lorries freely because nobody is in lane 2, but it is a daft situation.

howdoyouknowjenny Fri 15-Feb-13 22:15:42


Road all clear ahead, MLM sticks to middle lane doing 60. I come up in the slow lane doing 65 see the MLM and prepare to overtake. 2nd car coming up behind me doing 70 prepares in advance to do the same thing. So we have 2 cars preparing to move at different speeds across 2 lanes into the only 1 available overtaking lane and back again.

Can you MLM not see how much safer it would be for all the road users if the MLM was in the near side lane to begin with???

CarlingBlackMabel Fri 15-Feb-13 22:17:03

your 70mph is probably 65mph because your speedo will almost always overread.

Are you sure of this? It seems a very expensive presumption, if not dangerous.

howdoyouknowjenny Fri 15-Feb-13 22:17:26

Zwisch, I liked your MLM and will use it from now on.

jjuice Fri 15-Feb-13 22:19:41

don't get me started on the people who speed up as you overtake them. I drive a pickup and this happens a lot. it's like they are are in cloud cuckoo land then suddenly see me overtaking at 70 and think shit I am being overtaken by a slow vehicle bollocks I have 200 horse power and speed up. And this helps everyone because...

zwischenzug Fri 15-Feb-13 22:22:55

Carling, yes this is quite standard across most cars, I've measured it myself with GPS when my speedo was at 60 over a 20 mile stretch and in reality I was doing about 55. AFAIK it's because manufacturers err on the side of caution, if a speedo was to overread (and cause people to get lots of speeding tickets as a result) they'd be in the shit. BTW I'm not suggesting everybody assumes they can go faster than their speedo says :-)

Jenny, good stuff, spread the word! Although I can't take credit for the term itself! Also you explained the example I was trying to make better than I did, thanks.

How can you get stuck between two other vehicles. It is you who controls how far you travel from the vehicle in front of you. If you need more space take it.
Busy motorway, all lanes suddenly fill and another big lorry merges onto the road behind you, no way to get into the middle lane at this point and bloody scary in a little car between two 18 wheelers. So If there are a lot of them about and they are jockeying for position I move out into faster lanes to stay away from them and pass them asap. You haven't been on the interstate highways in the US have you, multiple lanes 6 or 8 in some spots, that can go from 70 down to a dead stop at rush hour (should be called rush 4 hours)

howdoyouknowjenny Fri 15-Feb-13 22:35:19

Squinkies. You slow down therefore widening the gap between you and the lorry in front!!! Problem solved, no?

juneybean Fri 15-Feb-13 22:46:54

CarlingBlackMabel get back in your box, if you read the thread I accepted I was uneducated on what undertaking actually was.

Gottalovecosta Fri 15-Feb-13 22:58:06

You should be more concerned about the morons in the 'fast lane' doing 100mph - there isn't a 'fast lane' but that doesn't stop them attempting to own the road, does it? sigh I spend too much time on the M6.

Squinkies. You slow down therefore widening the gap between you and the lorry in front!!! Problem solved, no?
No it doesn't work I use to try that. Leave a car length between you and people start lane jumping and pushing in front of you from both sides, it's bloody brutal. I'm sure you tube has amusing clips of the California freeways rush hour traffic.
I am now quite zen in my driving habits, no one fazes me really I just keep going and ignore people flipping each other off and honking at cars pushing in. LOL

Gentleness Fri 15-Feb-13 23:47:52

Wow, I definitely see more middle- lane sitters in real life than on mumsnet! And yes to those who realised I was talking about drivers sitting in the middle lane when nothing is in the inside lane.

I do a lot of my motorway driving late at night to avoid the worst traffic so have seen many instances of clear roads apart from one person doing 63 in the middle lane. And yes to the poster who observed that they tend to look oblivious. I hadn't realised there were drivers who thought the middle lane was for 70mph. Though I now recall reading on here that someone had their midwife explain to them that the inside lane was for lorries. Worrying all round, and not much to help me achieve gentleness...

Gentleness Fri 15-Feb-13 23:48:32

Oh, and I love "clods"!

poodletip Fri 15-Feb-13 23:51:39

I think this is the most frightening thread I have ever read on Mumsnet shock

MLM are not people who drive in the middle lane passing a steady line of slower traffic in the inside lane. Obviously it would be dangerous to keep bobbing in and out of two busy lanes with traffic at different speeds.

MLM on clear roads are dangerous because you can have faster traffic travelling at different speeds needing to get past at the same time. They now only have one lane between them to pass instead of two ergo it is more dangerous for everybody.

Unless you actually are the traffic police then it is not your job to control how fast the other traffic is moving. Trying to do so actually creates a more dangerous situation with people getting frustrated and having to do more complicated overtaking manouvers to maintain their speed (which may or may not be above the speed limit but that's still not your business to do anything about it). I have actually seen on one of these police camera programmes on TV where they pulled someone over for doing exactly that.

Criticising other people's driving on the internet is not dangerous. Trying to control what other road users do while on the road is dangerous. Yes people speed. Yes they are breaking the law. But it happens all the time so you either have to deal with it and drive as safely as you can allowing for that or you are actually part of the problem.

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 00:22:16

I drove 345 miles on motorway yesterday and THE most annoying/dangerous types are the ones who weave in and out between lorries every bleeping 5 seconds. You are a driver. You have eyes. And a brain, hopefully. You can forward plan. You see lorries dotted every hundred yards for as far as your little beady eye can see.
DO NOT start ticking in and out like bloody sewing machine but TRY and rub your two withering brain cells together and think. Plan. Stay in the middle lane doing speed limit UNTIL you see a long enough stretch of free road in left lane. Then move over.
Again, do not needle like a stung eejit in and out. You are making me dizzy. And you are bloody dangerous,

[And breathe. Bloody wankers]

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 00:23:03

..were the ones, even.
Ah, never mind. So so angry.

JingleMum Sat 16-Feb-13 00:25:33

I'm scared blush I totally hog the middle lane & wasn't aware it was frowned upon!!

The reason I do it, is that I travel faster than "the slow lane traffic" but slower than "the fast lane" traffic. Also, there's loads of slip roads in the slow lane, so I'd have to keep changing lane, which I think is dangerous on a busy motorway? No?

What am I supposed to do? But worried now. Shall I stay in slow lane & just keep moving over for slip road traffic?

AgnesBligg Sat 16-Feb-13 00:30:26

I stick to the middle lane if I'm on a pleasant 68+ mph. I skip all the lorries to my left and the speeders still have the far right option if they can't help themselves. This seems ideal driving on motorway (to me).

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 00:46:42

zhwiszensug or whatever you are called. The speed-limit is 70mph. That's about 75m on your speedometer. Nobody should LEGALLY go faster than that, correct?
Your comment :''It's the police's job to police peoples driving, if people want to drive at 100mph then on their head be it if they get caught or crash into a tree.
'' is utterly, absolutely idiotic, I hope you do realise that.
Not many trees around motorways, plenty of cars though. The morons doing 100mph should be castrated on the spot.

LittleTyga Sat 16-Feb-13 00:56:30

Just remember We drive on the left unless overtaking - thems the rules! If the nearside lane is empty move over!

Kleptronic Sat 16-Feb-13 01:00:54

They don't know how to drive. It's like chess. That is all.

Loving your honesty Agnes ! smile

TheSmallerPenguin Sat 16-Feb-13 03:49:31

I am constantly amazed by the number of drivers who just don't get that both the middle and outside lanes are there for overtaking. Why is that so difficult to grasp?

This evening I drove about 270 miles, pretty much all on motorways. I lost count of the number of times I had go from the inside lane to the outside, then straight back to the inside lane to go past cars merrily cruising down the middle lane of an empty motorway. This was after about 9pm on the M5 southish before anyone argues about the empty bit, really, it was very quiet.

Why do they do this? I just don't get it. The temptation to just be done with the faff and undertake them is huge. I didn't, but boy was I tempted.

TheSmallerPenguin Sat 16-Feb-13 04:03:07

And, if you were on the M5 south between 9pm and 11pm doing just that, please explain why. I am genuinely interested as to why people do it.

I think people do it because the inside lane has lots of slow traffic such as lorries, and has people joining from slip roads (and leaving) - the middle lane seems easier and pleasanter and safer to many !
But I can see it's annoying to others, especially when inside lane very empty.
In that case, yes, it's just a bad habit.
But not as bad as other people's bad habits ! I'd never undertake for example - so dangerous.

I think everyone should have to do motorway lessons after they've passed their driving test. I did pass plus after mine. It's astonishing how many people don't know how to use motorways correctly.

As for comments about people speeding - just move out of the way of speeding drivers and let them pass. The safest place for a tail gater is in front of you.

VivaLeBeaver Sat 16-Feb-13 05:53:55

It's all very well people saying they sit in the middle lane as they're going faster than the inside lane. But what about the poor sods stuck behind a lorry in the inside lane.

I pull back into the inside lane after overtaking. Then I get behind the next lorry and want to pull back out. I can't because of all the middle lane sitters who stayed in the middle lane rather than pulling into the very large, half mile gap behind me. I'm stuck there indicating to come out and they all pretend they haven't seen me and sail past. Fuckers.

diaimchlo Sat 16-Feb-13 07:45:16

There are far more annoying and dangerous things on a motorway than middle lane sitters tbh.
Those who join at a slip road and go directly into the outside lane.
Those who switch lane without indicating
Those who think it is ok to switch lanes when there is a gap that is only a cars length... This one really annoys me as they are stealing my safe breaking distance.
HGVs going into the middle lane for any reason other than to get into a correct lane for their destination.

Exactly Viva. Common courtesy does not exist on the motorway. Everyone seems very angry.

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 09:22:22

Read my post Viva. I could murder the lane-weavers like you. Use your brain. Please.
If you see a lorry in about 100 yards ahead of you in the left lane, what do you deduct, dear?
That the lorry moves about 56mph which is considerably slower than you at 70mph.
That if you were to move to the left lane you'd have to move out to overtake in about 5 seconds.
That constant lane changing is dangerous and done by utter nitwits who lack the power of forward planning.
To decide against the abovementioned action on the grounds that it would be beyond stupid.
Elementary, dear Watson.
Or is it too difficult to grasp?


Ooh bit patronising roll. And murder? sad

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 09:24:31

I believe ability to THINK is more important, than common courtesy.
I'd take rude but intelligent drivers any day.

It is possible to be intelligent and courteous though.

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 09:26:59



Why are you fuming?

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 09:28:05

We can but dream and hope.

Oh I see. smile Well thus thread has been a bit of an eye opener. Next time I am on the motorway I am sure i will be thinking about it.

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 09:31:04

I am fuming with utter crossness and similar unpleasant emotions, because of the dangerous and stupid behaviour exhibited by swarms of drivers on the motorways. I drive over 80 miles every day on motorway and see the numpties endangering themselves and others, ever 10 minutes.
Oh, why can't somebody invent common sense with touch of intelligence - in a spray can.

80 miles a day on the motorway roll. No wonder you are cross. You must have seen it all. Inner calm required. sad

Follyfoot Sat 16-Feb-13 09:39:23

Middle laners make me so cross that I'm going to have to hide this thread because I can feel my blood starting to boil grin

The Highway Code says:

37. On a two-lane dual carriageway you
should stay in the left hand lane. Use the right-hand lane for overtaking or
turning right. After overtaking, move back to the left-hand lane when it is safe
to do so.

138. On a three-lane dual carriageway, you may use the middle lane or the righthand lane to overtake but return to the middle and then the left-hand lane when it is safe.


264. 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.

austenozzy Sat 16-Feb-13 09:39:53

carling - it's true, speedos are calibrated to read a little faster than real speed. speedos can over report speed by 10% but must not under report speed at all, so car makers calibrate it forward a touch for the law's sake.

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 09:42:49

My inner calm rules the roost whilst driving. Once deposited safely in the big chair by the fire, with a large glass of something or other, then out comes the frustration.
It's very dangerous to become emotional while in charge of motorcar.
[wise old moi, ahem] wink

austenozzy Sat 16-Feb-13 09:42:59

meant to add, gps units are v accurate on constant speeds only, due to their slow refresh rate on the display. around town, lots of gear changes, etc, they're too slow to keep up, on the whole.

Looking at the Highway Code posted by Follyfoot am thinking it depends though what you mean by "return to the middle and then the left-hand lane ^when it is safe^" and "^as soon as you are safely past^"

It does even mention "If you are overtaking a number of slower moving vehicles"

Sometimes the roads are so busy these days that I feel these things are open to some interpretation.

I also feel that some very safe, cautious drivers are criticised much more harshly than much worse offenders who persist in speeding, tail-gaiting, and other aggressive driving attitudes and behaviours. It's as though fast, aggressive driving has become the norm.

I don't see a similarly angry thread on the danger of tail-gaiters for example.

As MrsDeV said some of us just want to get from A to B, sometimes with our DC, as safely as possible. That doesn't mean that either she or I use the middle lane excessively (as agree that could be dangerous too) Just that safe driving is our priority.

rollmopses Sat 16-Feb-13 10:07:06

Viva, I must offer my apologies, I didn't read your post fully/correctly/not enough coffee yet.
If there is a half mile gap in the left lane, one should be in the left lane, in that gap. However, my rant is about the drivers who don't forward plan.
If there's a constant traffic of lorries et al in the left lane, with relatively small gaps in between, then it is a better driving practice to stay in the middle lane whilst doing the speed limit, until one finds large enough gap to move to the left lane.
I do agree that the drivers who just sit in the middle lane whilst left lane is empty, are prize eejits.

[I shall go and enjoy my day now and stop ranting]

It also says "You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear

Well, that is open to interpretation too. On modern motorways how often is the left hand lane truly clear ?

WhoWhatWhereWhen Sat 16-Feb-13 10:15:49


Pull over to the left unless over taking

OK WHO. grin But there is a middle lane?

DoreensEatingHerSoreen Sat 16-Feb-13 10:28:51

Well the good news is that this can't happen anymore as Ben Miller put it in room 101 last night grin

WhoWhatWhereWhen Sat 16-Feb-13 10:32:22

Good question, most of the motorway near me has four lanes, the local plod call them lanes 1,2,3,4

People still sit in lane 3 on an empty road

StuntNun Sat 16-Feb-13 11:29:11

Is it actually illegal to undertake on the motorway? What happens if I'm driving in the left lane (because I'm leaving at the next junction), slowly gaining on the car hogging the middle lane going at 60 mph, then the driver of that car brakes and slows down? Do I:

A) Slow down so I don't undertake but then find I am driving on the motorway at 45 mph which seems dangerous to other drivers.
B) Cross two lanes to overtake only I'm doing 45 mph by this point and I have to get in to a lane doing 70 mph, overtake then cross back to the left hand lane to leave the motorway - also seems dangerous.
C) Undertake the car in the middle lane as safely as I can.

This happens to me frequently on the M2 into Belfast and it infuriates me that my safest option is the illegal one. The road slopes steeply just after junction 4 and I can only assume some drivers panic because they're driving down a big hill and brake even though the road conditions are safe for their speed.

I'm not absolutely sure on the legalities Stunt but I think you can undertake if you're in a lane designated as a leaving at next junction lane (that is there will be markings on the road to that effect) ?

cathpip Sat 16-Feb-13 12:00:22

I think people must think its very pretty in the middle lane, i was always told that there is only one lane for driving in on the motorway and the other two are for overtaking only.

Stunt - how about option 5, read the road ahead?

maddening Sat 16-Feb-13 12:42:04

Stunt - yes you would slow down till you reach the slip road unless you could see you had time and opportunity to overtake safely you could do that.

Once you're on the slip road not sure if you can pass on the inside but would personally be extra cautious (well wouldn't personally) incase you get someone entering the slip road late as you are alongside them.

Most slip roads you would be slowing down anyway I would imagine depending on the junction.

gymmummy64 Sat 16-Feb-13 12:46:28

The first lane is for driving in whenever it is available. The second and third lane are for the purpose of overtaking only

I've read this so many times on this thread. If as many posters are saying, we should all be with the HGVs in the LH lane and ONLY use the other lanes for overtaking, then why do we need two of them? So you can overtake someone who is overtaking? That really does sound dangerous.

A motorway is not a dual carriageway, but if everyone drove as some posters on here are suggesting I can't see why anyone would ever use the RH lane

austenozzy Sat 16-Feb-13 12:51:52

Nobody is suggesting diving in & out behind every lorry, gymmummy64, that would be crazily dangerous. On a busy motorway with lots of lorries doing 50-odd, passing them and mostly staying in lane two (middle or next-to-left-most) until there's nothing in lane one is the obvious and safe thing to. That's when the third lane is needed.

The OP was talking about quiet motorways with lots of space in lane one, and some numpty still sits in lane two doing 60. That's when they should shift over.

StuntNun Sat 16-Feb-13 13:01:34

But Horatio I'm talking about somebody unexpectedly braking rather than continuing at a steady speed.

Still, if I'm "steadily" gaining on somebody in lane 2, I will have pulled out to lane two or three before their braking would cause me to have to reduce my speed by 20mph.

chris481 Sat 16-Feb-13 13:58:18

A couple of people have said that it's not their job to make space for people joining the motorway (for example by changing to the middle lane.)

I always slow or change lanes to allow people in, and depending on the exact circumstances, think you might be selfish and relatively dangerous if you don't.

Someone from your camp wrote to a motoring columnist, looking for support, and were told that though the law was on their side, in reality common sense says that the driver on the main road has a better view and more options, so should be the one who goes out of his way to facilitate the merger.

gymmummy64 Sat 16-Feb-13 13:59:41

austenozzy I totally agree with your description - that's how I drive. Really not what some people are saying though

Bumply Sat 16-Feb-13 14:02:41

I find the inner city section of the M8 disturbing where you can leave/join the motorway from the right most lane. Just plain wrong.

gymmummy64 Sat 16-Feb-13 14:03:02

austenozzy I totally agree with your description - that's how I drive. Really not what some people are saying though

Thanks chris so we can be nice and move over?

ivykaty44 Sat 16-Feb-13 14:34:22

chris481 and you can not see that by slowing and changing lanes you may be acting in a dangerous way depending on the traffic on the motorway, the traffic joining the motorway - but you always do this.
I explained earlier why I would rather motorist didn't facilitate another motorist joining and why I don't like it myself when joining a motorway - if you change speed it is dangerous as i already judged your speed and am ready to join, change your speed and it makes it harder to know when you are going to pass. How do I know if you are going to facilitate or not? Better if no driver facilitates then everyone knows where they stand, if you have half doing one thing and half doing another it is confusing and confusion causes accidents.

I would rather live than have a flipping nice driver who killed me or my passengers or all of us

ChocolateCakePlease Sat 16-Feb-13 14:35:25

chris481 yes thank you! That is what i keep saying too - that it is very selfish and quite bloodyminded to have the attitude of "the law says i don't have to move over or give way so won't."

When i learned to drive my instuctor even taught me to either pull over to the next lane or slow abit to allow others to join the carriageway as it's common sense and a nice thing to do.

Some people treat it like someone is pulling out in front of you from a side road which it is not, it is someone merging onto a fast carriageway so not the same thing.

Don't get me started on merge in lanes either! I would say the majority of drivers of have no idea how a merge in works either. Again it's not "pushing in" it's merging to form one lane.

Yes it's suppose to work like a zip when two lanes merge into one Chocolate. It doesn't because none of the selfish buggers ever let anyone in. hmm God forbid they should let a car in in front of them. angry

Gentleness Sat 16-Feb-13 14:52:38

Don't you just read the road and respond accordingly when someone is joining and you are in the inside lane? So if they are travelling at roughly the same speed as you and you've got a decent gap ahead they could slot into, you stay where you are, possibly slowing a little or flashing to show your intent. If they are neck and neck with you for example, or if there are more than one car joining AND it is safe to move over then it helps maintain the flow of traffic to move over. And it is courteous too, but mainly it helps keep the flow of traffic safe for everyone. Like using the middle and outer lanes wisely to overtake 1 or several cars at an appropriate speed.

ChocolateCakePlease Sat 16-Feb-13 15:03:03

I have had it from both sides of the field with merging. My way of thinking is when the road is at the point of going from two lanes to one, the car, which ever lane it is in, that is slightly more forward than the other is the one who goes ahead into the merge and it should work like a zip.

However, the amount of drivers who don't do this is insane! I have been on the inside lane and let the driver to my right ahead and then go to merge in after them only to find the next car to my right thinks they can squeeze in too if they stay close enough to the car infront. Likewise when i have been in the rightside lane and let the car to my left go ahead as they are slightly more forward only to then have the car behind them sqeeze in too or even speed up so i can't "push in" because i am in the right lane.

You should never speed up to overtake/undertake when a merge in turn is ahead because there should be a natural merge in point for each car. Some drivers are either impatient or bloodyminded.

ChocolateCakePlease Sat 16-Feb-13 15:07:36

Gentleness i am talking about drivers who can see cars approaching from the slip and stay sitting in the inside lane (with a clear outside lane) and watch as all the cars try to filter on around them or have to slow down to a speed that will be dangerous to enter onto a fast carriageway (usually whilst they think if they look straight ahead they will be invisable.)

comingintomyown Sat 16-Feb-13 16:34:55

Add it to the list of other talentless driving habits you see constantly displayed by people who simply should not be behind the wheel of a car

Goldmandra Sat 16-Feb-13 16:52:18

Slip roads are designed to give drivers plenty of time to observe the traffic and work out the appropriate speed for dropping into a gap.

With a little anticipation nobody should need to suddenly slow down to make a gap regardless of whether the other drivers are choosing to make way for them.

I move into the second lane if both lanes are clear and I have plenty of time to indicate that this is my intention before doing so. This gives the driver on the slip road the opportunity to plan with that in mind. I don't shoot over at the last second to make room for a driver who hasn't adjusted their speed to allow them to filter into a gap. That would be dangerous.

sudaname Sat 16-Feb-13 17:09:58

I hate it when people do this. Motorways are made so dangerous by people who havent got a clue how they work. When lane rules are followed properly they are safer than most A roads, B roads, country lanes or whatever.

I also absolutely hate it when people wont let you on the bloody motorway in the first place , so bloody dangerous , as you end up having to slow down or practically stop before joining fast moving traffic.

Oh god and dont even start me off on people who wont let you join a line of traffic because you have the audacity to be joining it from a filter lane. The ones who sit there staring determinedly ahead, lips pursed, driving bumper to bumper with the car in front as if to say 'No you dont - youre not pushing in front of me'.

Get a life you saddo s grip - it's a road, not a bastard supermarket checkout queue.

<goes for lie down>

complexnumber Sat 16-Feb-13 17:45:39

But then, if you are moaning about the person in front of you being in the middle lane, surely that means you are in the middle lane yourself?

So why do you have so much more right to be there than the person in front of you?

Lot of self righteous entitlement on this thread imo

FlouncingMintyy Sat 16-Feb-13 18:37:11

Yes, lots of self righteous entitlement and a lot of people working themselves up into a lather about a minor thing which can hardly impact on their lives in a major way. It really doesn't pay to be driven absolutely mad by other people on motorways ... its distracting, bad for the blood pressure and probably makes you several notches less safe as a driver smile.

austenozzy Sat 16-Feb-13 18:45:47

complexnumber - no, that's just what the OP was talking about - empty/quiet motorway, you're driving in lane one at a faster speed than some oblivious clod sitting in lane two at 60, so you either move across three lanes and back again, or undertake. They're making a three (or more) lane motorway into a single carriageway where cars of various speeds have to merge to go around one person.

Nothing to do with entitlement or self-righteousness; everything to do with oblivious drivers making motorways more dangerous than they need to be.

NopeStillNothing Mon 18-Feb-13 07:21:08

What a ridiculous comment complex
Nobody is suggesting that the middle lane should never be used by anyone, that would make it a bit pointless.

drjohnsonscat Mon 18-Feb-13 10:22:05

agree with complexnumber and flouncing. There is a lot of "get out of my way, I'm a better driver than you" on this thread which, imho, always makes people bad drivers.

FWIW I've never been on an empty motorway (London). I've certainly not come across middle lane drivers being a big problem - if they are there they are usually there for a reason (left lane full of HGVs doing 55, slip road coming up, whatever). I'm much more concerned about the reckoners on the road who want to travel at their speed regardless of everyone else.

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 18-Feb-13 10:29:10

So if the motorway is almost empty or quiet, how is it an issue to move over an extra lane?

And to even contemplate undertaking as an option is hardly a good solution to middle laners.

And if moving into the third lane to overtake a middle laner is dangerous because the third lane is full of people driving bumper to bumper at 90mph (as I have seen on the M6) who is it, exactly, being dangerous?

I'm not defending lazy middle laning, but the reaction to it seems rather OTT. It needn't be dangerous - people's reactions can make it so.

AllDirections Mon 18-Feb-13 10:45:46

The reactions are not OTT at all. If you've never driven on a non-busy motorway then I can understand people not understanding about the middle lane problem. If you're on a motorway that's chocca then you'll probably stay in the same lane but for other people not understanding why it's a problem, it's very, very concerning that you don't understand why it's so important to only use the overtaking lanes for overtaking.

sudaname Mon 18-Feb-13 12:07:43

Yes completely agree Alldirections - it is a system, a very effective ,safe one for managing traffic, if used properly.

No-ones condoning undertaking, just saying it's one of only two ways to get past the middle lane hogger. Both ways are an unnecessary risk and the only other option is to drive slower than them and stay behind them in the inside lane - so in some cases doing 50mph or less all the way on your journey or till they exit the motorway.

None of these options are ideal or how it is supposed to work and yes l agree one would be potentially dangerous and another entails the extra unnecessary risk of having to go across three lanes.

What they all have in common however is that the situation to which they are the unsatisfactory solutions is directly caused by middle lane hoggers.

FlouncingMintyy Mon 18-Feb-13 12:12:15

If you are sitting behind a middle lane hogger doing less than 70 when the left lane is completely clear then flash your headlights at them several times. This usually works. They will pull into the left lane and you can pull into the left lane as soon as it is safe to do so. Don't get het up about it!

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 18-Feb-13 16:28:18

AllDirections, please, I have driven thousands and thousands of miles on all kinds of motorways, in many countries, and I fully understand why middle-laning can be a nuisance. As I said (patronising tone right back at you) I am not defending it as a practice, but that does not mean I don't also find much of the fury, aggro, entitlement, attitude that 'I have no other choice but to undertake' etc etc OTT. Attitude is one of the key components, IMO, of safe driving - either way.

CarlingBlackMabel Mon 18-Feb-13 16:29:55

How on earth is overtaking a middle laner in the third lane on a not-especially busy motorway of any particular risk?

Undertaking, on the other hand is against the highway code, unlawful and risky.

Zilvernblue Mon 18-Feb-13 16:36:47

I can't understand why people are even asking why its more difficult to overtake middle lane hoggers on an empty motorway. Obviously its because you have to move out from the inside lane, where you have been driving correctly, across two lanes, and then back across two lanes. Instead of one lane change. Which doubles the risk and increases the time taken to do the manoevure. Usually on a quiet motorway this will be fine, but it makes a straightforward overtaking manoevure more risky and difficult.

And if another vehicle wants to overtake my car, then I have to wait behind you until its past. Effectively reducing an expensive 3 lane motorway to a rather pointless 2 lane motorway.

Why not just drive in the correct lane yourselves? Is it really too much to ask that you drive courteously and correctly, instead of expecting other drivers to take extra steps to manoevure around your lack of driving awareness?

ChocolateCakePlease Tue 19-Feb-13 16:28:47

"Undertaking, on the other hand is against the highway code, unlawful and risky."

Middle lane hogging when not overtaking is also against the highway code, unlawful and risky.

CarlingBlackMabel Tue 19-Feb-13 16:31:27

It is not against the law to drive in the middle lane, however irritating it is, and it is against the law to undertake.

People should not mindlessly drive in the middle lane for no good reason.

But the amount of aggro that other people respond with is is also potentially dangerous.

Hardly anyone really drives in the middle lane on an empty motorway. And if they did overtaking them in the third and moving back to the inside lane wouldn't be much of a problem.

Really our motorways are busy places and people are making slightly different judgements about how to deal with that.

I agree with Carling that the anger shown against middle-laners - and the behaviour that goes with it such as tail-gaiting, speeding, and under-taking - is likely to be more dangerous than the middle-laners behaviour

Goldmandra re slip roads being designed t give you enough space to join safely - To join the east bound M25 at J5 from the east bound A25 you turn 180 degrees back on yourself and reach the motorway in less than 10 seconds (from stationary at traffic lights on A25) with practically no visibility. You then have approx 10 seconds of driving (at no more than 40) before you hit the A22 exit. So just at the point you're joining the motorway, traffic is pulling across you to exit. It's one of the scariest junctions I've driven on.

And not going near the arsehole lorry driver who thought it was funny to totally block me getting on the M25 from the A2 (before they redid that junction), and forced me to come to a complete stop at the end of the slip road, meaning I sat there for 5 full long minutes as there wasn't a big enough gap to allow me to get out from a standstill and up to speed. Felt sorriest for everyone coming up behind me on the slip road who then had to slam on their brakes.

Goldmandra Tue 19-Feb-13 18:24:39


That sounds like a horrible junction and a horrible experience. Cleary that one is very badly designed sad

maddening Tue 19-Feb-13 19:57:33

Sudaname - no undertaking is not a choice - the police would likely prosecute you for dangerous driving.

They would more likely "have a word" with a person driving in the middle lane with no other traffic on the road.

ChocolateCakePlease Wed 20-Feb-13 09:59:16

Yet that is weird maddening that the person undertaking (whilst within the speed limit) and an empty motorway would get done but someone driving in the middle lane on an empty motorway (thus causing more danger by making drivers do manouvers around them) would get a slap on the wrist. Very odd. Both mean danger but i would say the latter was far worse on an empty motorway than the former.

LessMissAbs Wed 20-Feb-13 10:26:48

Juggling I agree with Carling that the anger shown against middle-laners - and the behaviour that goes with it such as tail-gaiting, speeding, and under-taking - is likely to be more dangerous than the middle-laners behaviour

I disagree; I find the type of driver that daydreams in the middle lane, without any awareness of how to drive safely on motorways or of other road users, is far more potentially dangerous than a faster, more awake, more aware driver.

Oh, and by the way, middle-lane hoggers still do all those faults you list...

Well Les Mis - we're obviously dealing with generalisations here .... you for example extend the characteristics of a "middle laner" to be someone that "daydreams and has no awareness of how to drive safely on motorways or of other road users".
That's quite a lot of assumptions I'd say.

You think someone who doesn't have middle lane tendencies will be "faster, more awake, and a more aware driver"

Well faster (more impatient) yes, the others, not so much !

LessMissAbs Wed 20-Feb-13 10:45:37

Juggling having road awareness, courtesy for other drivers around you, awareness of what is means to constantly drive in the middle lane, causing those driving correctly to cross two lanes to overtake you, being aware of the Highway Code and how it advises drivers to use motorways - yes, I think that makes for a safer driver.

Why exactly is this novel?

I just understand some of the pressures that might cause someone to have a relative tendency towards remaining in the middle lane compared to more frequent lane changing ... not least the pressures from other drivers driving behaviour and attitudes.

Those tending towards use of the middle lane are far from the only ones causing problems, Less Miss.

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