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To not really understand the problem with driving in the middle lane?

(441 Posts)
BrokenSunglasses Fri 16-Aug-13 09:15:27

I've done a lot of motorway driving recently, and it's got me thinking, because I don't really understand when it's ok to be in the middle lane and when it's not.

I've worked out that its ok to stay in the middle lane when there's lots of cars/lorries on the inside lane and I'm going faster, but how long is it ok to stay in the middle lane when there's nothing right next to you on the inside lane?

Sometimes I stay in there longer than I perhaps should, but that's either because I can see that I'd only have to move out again in a minute because there's a slow moving lorry ahead, or because I can see a junction coming up and there will be cars filtering onto the the motorway.

I did that yesterday, and got flashed a lot by a van behind me, but it was raining so the visibility was crap, and I'd have had to slow down and be too close behind the car that was on the inside lane and would have been able to see even less because of the spray. It seems to me to be sensible to leave lots of space inbetween vehicles when it's raining, but this van made me doubt myself. He overtook me in the outside lane eventually, and I thought he should have just done that in the first place because that's what it's there for.

Was I being a lane hog or was he being a twat?

I really don't get it.

nomorecrumbs Fri 16-Aug-13 09:17:02

He was being a twat.

I'm a middle-lane hogger, far worse than yourself. But I like to save petrol and I'm not going to be speeding up and slowing down by dodging and out of lanes and traffic all the time. Bugger that!

blueraincoat Fri 16-Aug-13 09:18:16

I was thinking the exact same this morning, personally if the right lane was empty and you are moving faster than the left then he was being a twat. Like you though very intrigued as to "correct" use of middle lane.

quoteunquote Fri 16-Aug-13 09:20:37

No, You must return to the inner lane at every opportunity, or the over all traffic flow is slowed, gaps between vehicles become smaller, and more accidents occur.

It also is incredible annoying to be driving on the inner lane, and approach a slower vehicle in the middle lane, than have to go out to the outer lane and back to the inner lane all because someone can not be bothered to drive using the highway code.

MaxPepsi Fri 16-Aug-13 09:22:10

GOing on what you've said, he sounds like a twat.

nomore I'd reconsider your driving habits, getting fines for lane hogging is going to cost you a lot more!

And it's changing gear that uses up more fuel -hence why short stop and start journeys adding up to 100 miles uses more than doing 100 miles on a motorway in 5th gear

noblegiraffe Fri 16-Aug-13 09:22:35

Sometimes people flash you because they're a twat not because you are doing anything wrong, and there are plenty of people who drive too fast in the rain.

Middle lane hogging is a problem when you are not overtaking, not anticipating overtaking and especially when you are going slower than people in the left lane so they have to slow down not to undertake or cross two lanes to get around you.

BrokenSunglasses Fri 16-Aug-13 09:22:44

I always thought it would be likely to cause more accidents if people were constantly switching lanes while traveling at 70ish mph.

Binkyridesagain Fri 16-Aug-13 09:24:05

My DD did a pass plus driving lesson which teaches you how to drive on a motorway.

The instructor said that if it will take you more than 15 secs to overtake the car on the inside lane, when you are in the middle lane, then you pull back in.

Drquin Fri 16-Aug-13 09:24:08

YABU as you should know the Highway Code requirements verbatim :-)
Highway Code says you should always drive in the left hand lane when the road ahead is clear; returning to left hand lane after overtaking as soon as you are safely past.

In practice, it depends where you're driving - a relatively quiet road with more than one lane, there's no excuse really not to return to the left hand lane and therefore comply with the Highway Code. Busier roads, it would seem to make more sense for all the traffic to be spread out equally across lanes.

Google it if you've got a spare ten hours ..... There's a huge amount of research on "optimum lane usage" and the effects of "middle lane hogging"!

ShatnersBassoon Fri 16-Aug-13 09:25:38

It is dangerous to hog the middle lane. Saving fuel is not a valid reason to pick one lane and stick with it confused.

You should always be in the leftmost lane, only moving out to overtake. Sitting in the middle because you like it, for whatever reason, stops the motorway traffic from flowing as it should.

Sirzy Fri 16-Aug-13 09:26:22

You should only be in the middle lane if you are overtaking another vehicle. Otherwise you should move in.

Middle lane hoggers are a PITA and make motorway driving more dangerous.

purplewithred Fri 16-Aug-13 09:28:03

Some bits from the Highway Code (which is all online, free)
- 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.
-Do not overtake unless you are sure it is safe and legal to do so. Overtake only on the right.
- Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake. In congested conditions, where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right. In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake.

If you drive in the middle lane with an empty lane on your left, anyone overtaking you is forced to use the righthand/outside lane because they cannot overtake you on the left. So effectively you are closing down the whole inside/lefthand lane of the motorway. This results in bunching, with traffic building up around you which is an accident hazard.

twosmallbuttons Fri 16-Aug-13 09:29:09

It's laziness IMO. People who sit in the middle lane (when they could easily move into left lane) tend to drive too slowly and/or not be aware of other drivers. Drives me crackers angry

Rowlers Fri 16-Aug-13 09:29:39

What quote said.
Also, if you are moving between lanes you are actually safer - you are more aware of what's going on around you than someone who has switched off their attention because they have decided to stick in one lane and not move.

SirChenjin Fri 16-Aug-13 09:29:42

One twats idea of a middle lane hogger will be another drivers idea of sensible driving. I've been driving for almost 25 years with a completely clean licence and like to think I'm a good driver. I will sit in the middle lane for as long as I judge it to be necessary - if the inside lane is full of slow moving vehicles then I'm not going to drive for miles weaving in and out of traffic and then getting blocked in the inside lane by drivers in the middle lane.

My response to anyone who flashes me in circumstances like the OP describes is the middle finger

onedogandababy Fri 16-Aug-13 09:29:55

Imo you may stay in the middle lane if you will almost immediately need to pull back out to overtake. If you will be driving on the inside lane for a little while before pulling out you should move in.
Unless the motorway is really busy, or you're avoiding an incident, there should be no need to slow down/speed up between lanes, the joy of motorway driving is that you should be able to pull in/out smoothly without any major acceleration/deceleration, if you need to pull out you should be looking ahead for the space or indicating so that the person in the middle lane moves to outside lane to allow you out.

Hogging the middle lane means, as pp said, having to move across all lanes and back, or that you effectively decrease the motorway by a lane leaving everyone driving in the middle/outside lanes, or risking people undertaking you.

It's really not that difficult to decide - are you overtaking or about to? Yes - stay in that lane. No - move back inside.

purplewithred Fri 16-Aug-13 09:31:03

But whatever you were doing, the guy behind you was more likely to get a penalty than you because as well as middle lane hogging the police can now give a fixed penalty for tailgating. I don't think it's officially called 'driving like a twat' but I'm pretty sure that's what the police call it.

Lovecat Fri 16-Aug-13 09:32:25

Sorry but YABU. Nothing boils my piss more than an empty motorway and some twit sitting in the middle lane doing 55, so you have to go from the inside lane all the way across and back to overtake them correctly.

YY to what Purplewithred says about slowing/bunching traffic in the outside lane by doing this too.

And people who pull out into the middle lane to overtake a lorry/slow car then just sit there unable to overtake, straining their engine for the next 10 minutes to get past while the queue builds up behind...

<rage> I'm going on the M4 at midday - must try and think calming thoughts...

BrokenSunglasses Fri 16-Aug-13 09:34:26

Ok, I think it sounds like I'm doing alright based on these responses. Thank you!

I just hear so many people complaining about middle lane hoggers that it's made me paranoid.

I too have been annoyed by people who have made me cross all the lanes so that I don't undertake.

comingalongnicely Fri 16-Aug-13 09:35:01

I try to follow a "if I'm going to be in the middle lane for more than 30 seconds & the inside lane is empty, pull into it" rule - not rigidly though. I don't think it helps anyone if you're zig-zagging between lanes every 30 seconds or so.

It's the people that sit in the middle when there is no traffic in the inside lane for 1/2 mile that are the problem, not people that are actually overtaking traffic. Some people are just aggressive twats when they're driving. Ignore them, they'll get their come-uppance one day!!

Tuppenceinred Fri 16-Aug-13 09:35:50

You are supposed to move in when the inside lane is clear. You are also supposed to judge the traffic so that when you move over to pass slower traffic you don't need to decelerate or accelerate drastically. "Overtaking" should be a gradual move, not a drastic last-minute dive out into the middle or outside lane. Switching lanes as required by the Highway Code is only likely to cause more accidents if people don't do it properly - in other words if, IMHO, they shouldn't be on a bloody motorway at all.
Middle lane hogging causes other drivers to get agitated, and they either end up undertaking, or pushing out into the outside lane when possibly they aren't going fast enough, or the space is a bit short. Surely it's common sense that middle lane hogging is likely to cause more accidents than drivers using the motorway lane system properly as it's intended.
I also get frustrated by the people who don't move into the middle lane at the right time and fail to anticipate the traffic flow correctly. Meaning that they end up jammed behind the slower vehicle in front of them, and they then get frantic with the driver who moved into the middle lane at the right time and is correctly passing them. I had an idiot bloke making hand signals at me with both hands off the wheel recently, absolutely beside himself with fury that he was indicating and I didn't move over to let him out. I couldn't - there was traffic in the outside lane. And I couldn't speed up radically either, apart from the fact that I was already going at 70, my little van doesn't do rapid acceleration.
What frightens me on threads like this is the level of dangerous ignorance they expose.

duchessandscruffy Fri 16-Aug-13 09:37:53

No of course you wouldn't weave in and out between the middle and inside lane if there are lots of slow moving vehicles on the inside.

But that's not what 'middle lane hogging' is. There is nothing g more irritating than when you are going at 80 70 on on the inside of a fairly clear stretch of motorway and there is a car going at 60 in the middle lane with absolutely no reason why they cannot move over, and you have to move all the way over to the outside to overtake, argh!

Tullahulla Fri 16-Aug-13 09:37:53

If you don't understand the rules of driving then don't drive.

Staying in the middle lane when there's no need is stupid and dangerous. As most others said, it's for overtaking and once you've done that pull back in to the left hand lane.
I'm glad the fines are coming in, twats staying in the middle lane, forcing everyone else out to the fast lane are accidents waiting to happen.

Annoys me almost as much as people who can't get into lane at roundabouts, or have no idea how to indicate which junction they're coming off at!
A guy missed me by inches when he was indicating left to go straight ahead at a roundabout, I pulled out and he was all beeping horns etc shouting he was going straight on - why the fuck is your left indicator on you arsehole?

DreamingofSummer Fri 16-Aug-13 09:39:13

OP - it sounds as though you are a middle lane hogger, albeit on a minor scale.

Very simply, get as far left as you are able to do safely.

StuntGirl Fri 16-Aug-13 09:39:43

Ok, I think it sounds like I'm doing alright based on these responses. Thank you!

Sorry, have you read the responses?

Driving - you're doing it wrong. If you don't know how to drive get off the roads.

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