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To not want to be intimidated by an HGV driver on a busy motorway.

(238 Posts)
EdwiniasRevenge Mon 30-Sep-13 23:49:15

I was on the motorway today. Fairly busy but fluid and freely flowing traffic.

I was travelling at about 55-65mph in the slow lane. I wasn't in a hurry and found myself approaching a car +caravan in lane 2.

As I was doing an acceptable and safe motorway speed and I was in no hurry I decided that I wwasn't going to weavve out to lane 3 to overtake and I wasn't going to break the law by 'undertaking'. I was also approaching my junction. I sat behind the caravan in my lane (ie ensuring I wasn't in the caravan blind spot).

An HGV approached from behind, and continued to drive in my estimation, less than 2 car lengths behind me. It was so close that all I could see in my mirror was the radiator grill. I literally could not see his winscreen. I could not see the number plate.

I touched my brakes gently couple of times to indicate that he was uncomfortably close.

A couple of minutes late rhe was using his horn to tell me to move.

As it was a 4 lane motorway it would have been legal for the lorry to move out to lane 3 if he was tgat desperate. Meanwhile I felt intimidated and unsafe.

MurderOfBanshees Tue 01-Oct-13 08:49:39

YWBU for not just doing a normal speed in your lane
The caravan was BU for hogging the 2nd lane
The HGV was BU for being an aggressive pillock

shellbot Tue 01-Oct-13 08:49:42

I thought that lorries weren't allowed in the 3rd lane. If so then I think ywbu as you should have moved into the 3rd lane yourself and overtook the caravan driver so the lorry wasn't trapped behind you both.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 01-Oct-13 08:51:12


so was the hgv driver for driving like a twat

motorway speed unless bad weather conditions is 70pmh or as close as not for doodling along you should have taken over

ajandjjmum Tue 01-Oct-13 08:54:48

The caravan driver was an idiot for not being in the first lane.

IMHO you were driving badly for not overtaking the caravan in the 3rd lane and then pulling straight back into the 1st lane assuming it was clear.

The lorry driver was in the wrong for driving aggressively, but it was the poor driving of the other two vehicles that caused this reaction - although that's really no excuse, as he is supposed to be a professional.

The standard of driving on motorways staggers me at times.

northernlurker Tue 01-Oct-13 08:59:44

The speed LIMIT on a motorway is 70. It's not a requirement. However driving excessively slowly - as the OP was - is not safe. The caravan was very much at fault, sounds like they hadn't noticed the lanes change which is alarming. The lorry driver is very much at fault for unsafe and aggressive beahviour. The OP is very much at fault for driving unsafely, of all the vehicles involved she could have acclerated to overtake the caravan and then move back in. Ideally she would have moved out to Lane 2 and then Lane 3 as soon as she saw a slow moving vehicle ahead. By the time she was up with the caravan it was too late.

That said - no harm done except to the blood pressure of the participants.

BadRoly Tue 01-Oct-13 09:01:41

I wouldn't have undertaken. Caravan driver was being a muppet. Not sure that I wouldn't have nipped round BUT I do worry about missing junctions.

Lorry driver came across the situation - for all he knew, the caravan was trying to overtake you and therefore thought you were the problem.

Easier said than done but try and chalk it up to experience and forget it smile

MurderOfBanshees Tue 01-Oct-13 09:03:42

It's not undertaking though. Someone linked to the highway code earlier which explains this

Sparklingbrook Tue 01-Oct-13 09:06:20

There should be set times that caravans are allowed on the Motorway. Like during the hours of darkness.

Flossie82 Tue 01-Oct-13 09:08:11


I don't see why so many people think you were wrong, although it explains why there us so much bad driving!

To go past in lane 1 would have been illegal undertaking, as traffic wasn't queuing.

If caravan realised it needed to pull on but wasn't sure if it had room it should have indicated, sp you weren't dropping it. As you say, undertaking dangerous because cars in 2 ,/ 3 shouldn't be expecting you there.

Caravan driving badly, HGV being v unreasonable (& could have gone out to l 2 to get past you )

ILetHimKeep20Quid Tue 01-Oct-13 09:20:46

Just because someone I'd being a twat and going to slow in the middle lane does not mean that you are obliged to sit behind them in the inside lane this creating a rolling road block.

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 01-Oct-13 09:20:54

I don't think I approached the caravan from behind. I think it was alongside me as I merged onto the motorway.

Initially I could not move into lane 2 as there was traffic there so overtaking was not an option.

Initially I stayed a long way back because I expected the caravan to move back into lane 1, so there was plenty of space. I did move forward a bit once the lorry started intimidating me, and I realised caravan unlikely to move into lane 1.

By the time the lorry was on my tail I still couldn't move to lane 2 behind the caravan because of frequent (but not congested) flow of traffic). There was an opportunity I considered taking but I wasn't sure I could safely complrte my manoeuvre before needing to be on the sliproad of my exit.

I would happily and confidently overtaken the caravan if it was safe to do so. At no point whilst I was on the mitorway was I in a position to do this. And me looking ahead was irrelevant because for me to do that would have meant me causing a danger to traffic on my joining sliproad..

So I was left with 2 options.

1. I undertake. Which would have been an unsafe manoeuvre in its own right. And for those that read the highway code it is not allowed.
2. I stay behind the caravan in my own lane. I take on board that slow driving is unsafe but (other than choosing #2) I was not choosing my speed. I was travelling at the speed of the traffic ahead.

The lorry driver could legally overtake in lane 3 of a 4 lane motorway. But made a choice not to. Incidentally, he also took the next exit which I suspect is why he didn't overtake because, like me (more so in fact) he was not confident of being able to complete tge manoeuvre before the junction.)

PlayedThePinkOboe Tue 01-Oct-13 09:27:57

FGS, you asked if you were BU, loads of people said "yes, you were - and dangerous to boot".

Don't poke the bear in AIBU if you can't handle it!

If you're scared to overtake a caravan (or any vehicle really) then you shouldn't be on a motorway. Stick to being a passenger on public transport. You'll kill someone one day if you drive like that on a motorway.

Jude89 Tue 01-Oct-13 09:29:06

maybe he was beeping at the caravan?

MinesAPintOfTea Tue 01-Oct-13 09:30:20


The law about undertaking in such situations is slightly unclear, drivers should judge for themselves whether they are in congested traffic or not. I wouldn't have undertaken, especially as its a long trailer vehicle driven by an amateur driver (presumably).

And the HGV driver was delayed for about 20 seconds and didn't need to accelerate up again and waste fuel. He presumably already knew he was leaving at that junction. If he can't drive without taking frustration out on other drivers then he is in the wrong job.

The caravan driver needs a middle-lane hogging fine though.

Sparklingbrook Tue 01-Oct-13 09:41:53

Played lots of people have said the OP wasn't BU.

Don't poke the bear in AIBU? What? confused

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 01-Oct-13 09:47:14

Highway code rule 163

If the queue to your right is moving faster.

There was no queue!

The 'rule' on undertaking is open to interpretation, but there was NO QUEUE.

It is fair yo say I am being argumentative.

People are saying you should have moved into lane 3. I didn't ask if I should do that, because that was never really an option because of traffic conditions alongside and behind me. So yes I am challenging this point.

Should I have undertaken? I am challenging peoples interpretation of the highway code. And I am repeatedly stating that there was no congestion and no queue...therefore IMO undertaking was inappropriate.

I am not scared to overtake. I am comfortable on the motorway. I am happy drivng at 80mph on the motorway and using all lanes when safe to do so. I got trapped on the inside of a slowish moving vehicle from the point I joined the motorway. I did not feel comfortable undertaking it because IMO I woukd have been breaking highway code rule 163. IMO I would have been putting myself at risk during the undertaking.


Rooners Tue 01-Oct-13 09:47:49

This is why I never even go NEAR a motorway and I've been driving for 20 years.

ScottishInSwitzerland Tue 01-Oct-13 09:48:49

Could you have moved into lane two behind the caravan and let the lorry do the illegal undertaking?

(I have only ever driven on a motorway with two lanes so genuinely don't know about these things)

FreudiansSlipper Tue 01-Oct-13 09:50:16

op this thread could end up winding you up more than the original incident

not all will agree with you so the thread will go round and round in circles unless you enjoy a good argument debate

and lets face it that is why most of us out on here grin

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Tue 01-Oct-13 09:50:24

Contrary to most of the people on here, I don't think you were at fault. You don't have to travel at the limit of motorway speed if you don't want to. 50 mph is fine.

No. It. Isn't.shock

OP, you were not BU to feel intimidated. You were however, BU in driving like a jerk.

As has been pointed out multiple times, passing the caravan on the left would not have been undertaking.

Please stay off motorways until you understand how to drive on them.

EdwiniasRevenge Tue 01-Oct-13 09:51:50


Tbf I hadn't considered that at the time. I probably could have (when there was my questionable overtaking opportunity). I have no idea how much, if any traffic was behind the lorry - probably a reasonable amount preparing to come off at a very busy junction. It may have been difficult for me to get back in to come off.

MidniteScribbler Tue 01-Oct-13 09:53:14

If you're sitting close to the caravan, he may have been swearing about the idiot sitting too close to allow him to merge back in to the lane.

thistlelicker Tue 01-Oct-13 09:56:11

Perhaps u were moving
Too slow for the caravan to move back in to lane 1? You were
Lazy not to overtake and you were just as much as a risk as the bu mahoosive lorry

DameDeepRedBetty Tue 01-Oct-13 09:59:11

yanbu, I'd have done the same as you in the same situation.

Tuppenceinred Tue 01-Oct-13 10:00:12

I'm afraid I laughed out loud when the "police officer neighbour" suddenly appeared up-thread. If you have such a useful source of information why bother on here?
Here's another scenario - You are happily pootling along in the left hand lane on the motorway. Ahead you can see a caravan that is staying in the middle lane and not pulling in. So, as a good driver who plans and predicts traffic, you look for an opportunity to pull into the middle lane well before you reach the caravan, then you pull into the outside lane, pass the caravan and move back in. Whether or not the vehicle you are approaching at higher speed is in the same lane as you, or the one next to you, plan ahead and predict what you need to do so that you can make your moves safely. This guidance would apply just as much to leaving room to pass a vehicle in the middle lane as one directly ahead of you in the inside lane. As said above, it sounds possible that your position was actually putting the driver with the caravan off pulling in. How close were you to them?
I think you were too insistent on what your "rights" were and not being aware enough of traffic around you. You could have undertaken, but if you had thought ahead you wouldn't have had to. You could do as you did and stick to your rights, but in doing so you effectively created a rolling road block for traffic behind you. The HGV driver was in the wrong, so were you.
You don't say how big this HGV was, but have you noticed that they don't often move out into the outside lane?

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