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Crackdown on middle lane hogging in national safety campaign

 Published 16th April 2024
Driver Guides  General Guides 

The government is taking action to tackle one of the most frustrating aspects of motorway journeys by telling the nation’s millions of middle lane hoggers to keep left.

National Highways wants drivers to make small changes with its new campaign to stop them blocking the middle and outside lane of motorways when they could pull over and let faster traffic flow more easily.

Its research shows that about 32% of drivers stay in the middle lane at least “occasionally”, with one in 10 motorists admitting they always or frequently do it, equivalent to more than 1 million cars blocking the highways and causing congestion.

Many drivers who encounter lane hoggers say it makes them frustrated or angry. 

Sheena Hague, the National Highways director of road safety, said: "Bad habits can make driving on our motorways a challenging experience.

"Our campaign aims to motivate motorists to embrace little changes, which will have an overall positive effect on both them and their fellow road users, reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing.”

While National Highways acts to tackle lane hogging, it warns drivers not to force their way through traffic by tailgating or following too closely to the vehicle in front. One in four drivers admit to tailgating on the motorway.

Hague said: “Both are dangerous and can cause accidents. The message is simple: always allow plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front, and - unless overtaking - move into the left-hand lane."

Nearly 70% of drivers say close following, or tailgating, is a serious problem on motorways and A-roads, with the vast majority believing it increases the risk of crashes.

The Department for Transport says that in the past 10 years, 198 people died and nearly 7,000 were badly hurt in crashes where a car was too close behind another.

Can you get fined for lane hogging or tailgating?

Lane hogging and tailgating are both offences of careless driving. Police officers have the power to hand out on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points.

The Highway Code says drivers should “allow at least a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster moving traffic”. The two seconds allow time for thinking and stopping if traffic ahead suddenly slows. When it’s raining, the gap should double.

Rob Marshall, Operations Director, Gateway2Lease Gateway2Lease, said: “Following the rules of the road protects other drivers and keeps your new car safe, because it is less likely to be involved in a crash.

“Drivers should remember to keep left when not overtaking but also avoid tailgating if they encounter someone blocking their lane. A little patience can make the difference between a safe journey and risking a fine or a crash.”

You can find out more about the National Highways campaign here - Little changes, change everything.

  Image: Creative Commons

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