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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!

JugglingFromHereToThere Wed 20-Feb-13 11:55:24

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.

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?

JugglingFromHereToThere Wed 20-Feb-13 10:40:31

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 10:26:48

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...

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.

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.

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

IShallWearMidnight Tue 19-Feb-13 17:12:01

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.

JugglingFromHereToThere Tue 19-Feb-13 16:45:36

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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>

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.

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