Middle-lane hoggers are the bane of motorway drivers’ lives – but Lancashire Police are miles ahead in pulling up the county’s culprits.
After being given the power to issue penalties in 2013, the county’s force has brought to book more 121 drivers for middle lane hogging.
That’s the largest number among the nine forces which responded to a Freedom of Information request.
Second-place Merseyside had only five prosecutions. In the same three-year period (2013-2015), Lancashire Police also charged 36 drivers with tailgating and 92 motorists with driving too slow.
Luke Bosdet, spokesman for motoring organsation the AA, said: “Middle-lane hoggers are one of a number of bad driving behaviours and ironic it’s often these people which annoy other road users, leading them to commit offences such as tailgating.
“Tailgating drivers can often not pay attention to what’s happening ahead of them and this can cause big accidents.
“We would urge drivers to be careful when finding a way around middle lane hoggers regardless of how irritating they may be.”
In 2013, police forces across the UK were given the power to issue fixed penalty notices for careless or inconsiderate driving on motorways.
This includes hogging the middle lane of a motorway, tailgating, driving too slow and undertaking.
According to the lane disciple section of the Highway Code, drivers should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.
If overtaking slower-moving vehicles, drivers should return to the left-hand lane as soon as they are safely past.
Slow-moving or speed-restricted vehicles should always remain in the left-hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking.
Break these rules and you can expect a £100 on-the-spot fine as well as three points on your licence.
First-time offenders can opt to go on a driving course in lieu of the fine and penalty points and they can still challenge the decision to prosecute in the courts.
Middle-lane hoggers appears to be a sore issue with many of our readers, who posted on the LEP Facebook page to have their say.
Reader Peter Kerrone commented: “It (middle lane hogging) is my pet hate, it’s simply bad driving, most drivers are not unaware that it’s an offence, they’re just such bad drivers that they are unable to use their mirrors properly, and change lanes safely, so they choose to plonk themselves in the middle oblivious to others.”
And Coral Bolton also posted online, saying: “(Middle lane hogging) drives me absolutely crackers and it makes the journey a nightmare being forced into the far lane because someone’s sat doing 60mph in the middle lane.”
But Karen Utley commented to say she thought it was sometimes difficult to avoid. She said: “I try really hard to keep pulling back into lane one, however, because all the lorries and caravans are in that lane you often have to immediately pull out again. Constantly weaving in and out is hard on long journeys so there is a natural temptation to stay in lane two for a bit when you can see up ahead that you will be constantly manoeuvring. I’m not advocating lane two hogging, just saying it’s often pointless pulling back in again simply to let a vehicle pass that is exceeding the speed limit anyway and then have to come straight back out again to get around the 50mph drivers. If every single driver popped in and out of lanes as the law says it would be even more chaotic than it is now on busy motorways.”
Kevin Munro: “Huge problem. I see this (middle lane hogging) regularly on the motorways. You flash people and either get a ‘shrug and what’s your problem’ or hand gestures! Not once have I seen anyone pulled over or the police policing it happening!”
Dave Cuming: “It’s not just middle lane hoggers! There are some seriously bad drivers on the roads today!”
Nadine Mason: “I drive on the motorway daily and encounter hundreds of them, all oblivious to other road users. They are dangerous and need to be booked.”
Alex Rose: “(Middle lane hogging) is the single biggest cause of congestion!”
Mark Smith: “I do over 500 motorway miles a week and I see it (middle lane hogging) constantly. Lane hoggers are selfish and are completely oblivious to the problems they cause.”
Andy McDonald: “We should introduce a test for motorway driving, and anyone caught hogging the middle lane should have to take the test again, and banned from driving on motorways for three months.”
Roy Livingstone: “What is annoying is when you are in lane one doing 70 mph and you are fast approaching slower vehicles but can’t pull out into lane two because someone draws level with you and stays there.”