Motorists risk ‘serious fines’ and penalty points simply for driving on the motorway

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Driving in the middle lane when they are not overtaking another vehicle is an offence, which is often referred to as “lane hogging”. This is because the habit is classed as careless driving, much like travelling too close to another vehicle.

Motorists could be hit with a £100 fine and three penalty points if they are given a fixed penalty notice.

Since 2013, the police have had the power to hand out on-the-spot fines for road users driving in the middle lane on the motorway.

Drivers are also discouraged from cruising in the right hand lane.

The right-hand lanes are there to allow drivers to overtake others when they are moving slower than them.

The Highway Code outlines where drivers should position themselves on the motorway.

Rule 264 states: “Keep in the left lane unless overtaking.

“If you are overtaking, you should return to the left lane when it is safe to do so.

“Be aware of emergency services, traffic officers, recovery workers and other people or vehicles stopped on the hard shoulder or in an emergency area. 

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“If you are driving in the left lane, and it is safe to do so, you should move into the adjacent lane to create more space between your vehicle and the people and stopped vehicles.”

Road users should pull into the middle or outside lane to overtake, then return to the left lane as soon as possible.

If they stay in the middle lane, it may prevent other motorists from being able to overtake them, which could lead to issues with the flow of traffic.

This can even force other drivers to undertake to stop themselves from being blocked in.

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According to research commissioned by Direct Line, just 23 percent of drivers stick to the Highway Code and travel predominantly in the inside lane.

This was done by analysing more than 70 hours of motorway footage across the UK.

A further 27 percent were found to drive in the outside overtaking lane.

For the remaining half, the most common reason given for middle lane hogging is that drivers think they will have to overtake lorries and slower vehicles further up the motorway, so they may as well stay where they are.

Other motorists claimed they stay in the middle lane just so they don’t have to change lanes as much, while almost a quarter do so because they think it’s faster than driving in the inside lane.

Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, commented: “Our analysis of traffic flows shows that millions of drivers risk prosecution by travelling in the middle and outside lanes when the inside lanes are entirely clear.

“It’s important that we increase awareness of the rules and penalties, primarily because they exist to keep road users safe but also drivers face serious fines and endorsements that will stay on their record for four years.

“Many motorists claim they want to avoid changing lanes to overtake, but this is a crucial skill and in-car technologies such as blind spot and safe distance warnings can help drivers to travel safely.”

Lane hogging may occasionally be justified during periods of heavy traffic or to allow others to join the motorway.

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