Fleet News

Fleet panel: Fleets back call to banish middle-lane huggers

FLEET drivers have given their whole-hearted support for action to tackle drivers who hog the middle lane of motorways, causing delays and frustration for millions of other drivers.

Twenty of those who took part in the survey also won a Honda travel case in a prize draw.

Last week, Fleet News reported that the Government was trying to tackle the problem with two trial short-term safety messages on selected motorway message signs on the M1, M6, M18 and M62 urging motorway drivers to ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ and ‘Don’t Hog the Middle Lane’.

The Highways Agency claimed it was testing driver reaction to the messages as part of its campaign to reduce accidents on Britain’s motorways. Experts also believe that middle-lane hoggers can cause congestion and make hundreds of miles of motorway lanes unusable, as other drivers try to negotiate their way round them.

The messages are designed to remind drivers to safely move back into the left lane after overtaking, in accordance with Highway Code rule 238.

David Jamieson, the minister for roads, said: ‘We are committed to tackling congestion and making our roads safer. Poor lane discipline causes frustration to drivers and can disrupt the flow of traffic. We have all seen people on the motorway sitting in the wrong lane and experienced the inconvenience and congestion it causes. Just sticking to the simple rule of staying left unless overtaking could bring real benefits to all road users.’

Ginny Clarke, the agency’s chief highways engineer, added: ‘We have chosen the messages ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ and ‘Don’t Hog the Middle Lane’ to remind drivers of the safe driving advice in the Highway Code. We want drivers to think about how they are using motorway lanes. Are they taking care when overtaking, signalling in good time and keeping a safe distance between their vehicle and others?

Or are they spending too long in the middle or outside lanes, and causing frustration to other drivers when they could safely return to an inside lane?’

Section 238 of the Highway Code advises motorway drivers to keep in a left-hand lane unless they are overtaking slower-moving vehicles. Drivers are told to return to the left hand lane after completing the overtaking manoeuvre or if they are holding up traffic behind them.

This week, a new Fleet Panel run by Fleet NewsNet gave its verdict on the need to tackle the problem and it was given a massive vote of confidence.

Fleet decision-makers are fed up with delays caused by bad drivers. However, they also called for more to be done to tackle delays caused by slow lorries overtaking each other for miles on end and causing huge tailbacks. They also called for better training, with motorway driving introduced as part of the driving test.

Fleet managers’ verdict on drivers who won’t pull over

  • I CANNOT see how having warning signs will reduce the problem as most of the drivers hogging the middle lane or blocking the outside lane won’t think it applies to them.
    Linda O’Hara
    Budgens Stores

  • LANE discipline is appalling, especially at rush hour and holiday weekends when ‘casual’ drivers take to the road. I can’t see how warning signs will help when the driver obviously hasn’t got his/her brain in gear anyway. How about spending less on cameras and more on real people to patrol our roads?
    Dave Gill
    JMC

  • MANY drivers, as they cruise down our motorways chatting to their passengers, or listening to music, are cocooned in their own little worlds. They are totally unaware of what is going on around them – they sit in the middle lane and are completely oblivious to the bottleneck that is inevitably growing behind them. This ignorant behaviour is irritating and often leads to road rage, with other drivers racing dangerously close to the offending vehicle, flashing headlights and often startling the middle lane hogger into violently reactive manoeuvres that could cause an accident.
    Nicola Garnett
    Karcher UK

  • IF middle-lane hoggers were to use the Highway Code correctly this would keep coaches and lorries out of the fast lane, hopefully reducing those dreadful fatal accidents that we all see and read about.
    Micky Jackson
    BEW Electrical Distributors

  • SIGNS might help a bit but what would be better would be a stop-and-educate policy by police, with the threat of ‘driving without due care and attention’ being publicised.
    Edward Hughes
    Stanex Consultants

  • THE bigger problem to me is on dual carriageways where lorries attempt to overtake other lorries and take an absolute age to do so. As far as the middle lane on motorways is concerned there should be a minimum speed limit of 65 in the middle lane. To me constant lane changing is likely to be more dangerous.
    Tony Cock
    British and Brazilian Produce

  • MORE driver training is needed. You cannot expect the brain-dead in lane two of a three or four lane motorway to be able to read signs. They are only in lane two to give them a greater margin on each side of them in case they lose control. After all, we all know lane one is the lorry lane – don’t we?
    Peter Connah
    Lancaster Partners

  • WARNING signs may have a limited effect but I think that this will be short-lived. Better education for drivers is needed, particularly for motorway driving where large numbers of drivers seem to have little idea of how to drive properly on such roads.
    Andrew Sparkes
    Sherbourne Upholstery

  • EDUCATION is the key, the signs playing one part. Motorway driving is long overdue to be included in the driving test. With overcrowded roads, middle lane hogging creates dangerous bunching and unnecessary congestion.
    Phil Redman
    IBM UK

  • IN a country where the process of passing your driving test forbids you to experience a motorway, what else can you expect but poor motorway skills? Surely a test should incorporate all styles of road a driver is likely to encounter?
    Richard Siney,
    Norton Way

  • IT is not just a problem with the middle lane but also the right-hand one. Drivers tend to pull out to overtake and then stay in lane to overtake other vehicles which could be anything up to half a mile ahead.
    Bob Collins
    Schwans Consumer Brands

  • I DROVE from Peterborough to Taunton and back and it was no surprise how many drivers stayed in either the middle or outside lane. Signs will make no difference – these are probably the same drivers who ignore advisory speed signs.
    Alan Miles
    RNIB

  • LAST week I travelled 20 miles on the M54 in rush hour. This motorway is two lanes, not three, and everyone was in the outside lane – not a thing on the inside lane. We really need drivers to be more educated.
    Ann Dukanovic
    Kaba Door Systems

  • I STRONGLY feel that it should be policed and not just rely on signs and warnings. Anybody who cannot see a 40 tonne truck in their rear-view mirrors will not see an overhead warning.
    David Carter
    Microtechs

  • DRIVERS already ignore the gantry-sited speed recommendations. Setting a minimum motorway speed, thereby closing the speed between vehicles, would encourage correct use of lanes.
    Alan Manship
    Nuswift International

  • IF the Government adopted the American system of equal priority lanes (‘undertaking’ allowed) allowing free movement on the motorways this would not be a problem.
    John Wardell
    The Wright Group

  • I DO not think the signs are enough to combat this – nor do I think it is serious enough to constitute an offence. The problem is so widespread that if you do drive properly, the ‘hogs’ box you in. It becomes necessary to behave like them.
    Martin Dowsett, Komori UK

    Prize draw winners

    The winners of the Honda Samsonite travel cases are:

    Nicola Garnett – Karcher UK Ltd
    Mike Clayton – Garndene Communication Systems
    Chris Fitzpatrick – Telewest Broadband
    Peter Connah – Lancaster Partners Ltd
    Alan Miles – RNIB
    Brian Middleton – Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue
    Phillippa Caine – Corgi
    Dave Gill – jmc.it
    Richard Warner – Seco Tools (UK) Limited
    Andrew Sparkes – Sherborne Upholstery Ltd
    Ann Dukanovic – Kaba Door Systems
    Stuart Devereux – 2nd Byte
    Alan Le Goff – Manitou (Site Lift) Ltd
    Martin Dowsett – Komori UK Ltd
    Joanne Hanafan – King UK Ltd
    Trevor Toombs – Braitrim UK Ltd

    Four additional winners asked to remain anonymous.

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