Possibly repetitive but... - Thommo
I know we have discussed this before but following Sunday I feel the need to spout again.

Sunday, M1 southbound between J15 and J2. Reasonably heavy traffic but rolling. Outside lane chock full and slowest lane on motorway, compression waves R-US, middle lane fairly full including a large number of 'convoys', that is long strings of HGV's progressing at precisely 60mph nose to tail, no chance to stop if anything happens. Inside lane empty except for occasionally slow moving vehicle.

I now undertake and weave through traffic lanes as a matter of course. I know it is against the law but what other choice do I have?
Possibly repetitive but... - Toad, of_Toad_Hall.
I know it is against the law but what other choice do I have?

Undertaking is legal if you show DC&A.

Nicer if you've got 4 lanes with a whole lane buffer. Incredible how often this occurs.
Possibly repetitive but... - Jonathan {p}
Undertaking is the deliberate manouevre to pass a vehicle on the inside. Passing a line of traffic in the outside lane of a motorway who happen to be going slower than you (and the speed limit) is not illegal. There are some people who would argue that you should not do the former unless the traffic is queueing (define a queue?). As toth says you should be ok. Deliberate lane hopping is considered to be antisocial, as it can and does slow the traffic up even more.
Possibly repetitive but... - Flat in Fifth
Undertaking is legal if you show DC&A.

Wotcher T,

Its also legal in a one way street. Ref Highway code etc.

And a motorway carriageway is a one way street, sort of......

No doubt m'learned chum DVD will be along shortly with a reasoned opinion.

Possibly repetitive but... - davo
Your other options include your responsibilities to other drivers and to your self. I doubt that in these conditions you get to your destination any quicker or actually save any amount of time worth considering. So save yourself alot of stress, reduce the risks of an accident by going with the flow. Your responsibilities to other drivers are no different to anyone elses in that constant lane changing irritates people (the only bods I ever see doing it are clever dicks driving recklessly)and is one of the reasons for the compression waves ie people driving too close to the car in front.

This is not a dig at you personally, but just to say that there are choices.
Possibly repetitive but... - Dwight Van Driver
So what does the law say about ?undertaking??

The Highway Code forms a basis of rules and conduct for drivers etc to observe to ensure safe driving and forms the backbone of driver tuition.

Rule 102 states that you do not overtake on the left UNLESS

the vehicle in front has signaled an intention to turn right and you can pass safely down the left, OR

if traffic is moving SLOWLY in QUEUES and vehicles on the right are traveling more slowly .

Rule 167 On the Motorway

Overtake only on the right unless the slow moving queue exemption above applies.

Do not move to a lane on your left to overtake.

Section 38 Road Traffic Act 1988 stipulates that failure to observe the Highway Code in itself does not make you liable to criminal proceedings, but a failure to observe a rule may be relied upon to support liability where proceedings apply.

So at the moment in UK ?undertaking? whilst not a specific offence is not an advised maneouver under the Highway Code and could lead to support charges of reasonable consideration/due care and even dangerous driving.

How the Learned Judges view it?

Trentham v Rowlands 1974 relied on the only overtake on the right rule, holding it was potentially dangerous driving for a motorist to overtake another on the outside lane at 70 mph by moving over to the inner lane to do so having regard on the driver of the vehicle being overtaken to return to the inside lane. (I was under the impression that there is another stated case which contradicted this but have been unable to find it within my limited resources).

I am aware that there have been moves to allow undertaking in line with certain EEC countries and the USA, more so when they increased the number of lanes on the M.25 but as yet, to my knowledge, no legislation or guidance rules have been published.

The advice must therefore be play safe and do not do it.


Possibly repetitive but... - PhilW
Advice please. As a cavanner (sorry!!) on very crowded motorways I often find that I can drive at 60mph in the inside lane and make better progress than those in middle/outer lane which are queuing which I take it is legal (and very satisfying when you keep pace with that Porsche!!). However, on quieter motorways, progressing at 70 (without van)in inside lane, it is not uncommon to come across 1, 2 or 3 cars in centre lane going slower. If I don't change lanes and stay in inside lane can I overtake by staying in inside lane rather than going all the way over to third lane then going back to inside? What exactly constitutes a queue? Do a certain number of cars a certain distance apart make a queue or could I argue that there is bound to be another car somewhere ahead in the middle lane which constitutes a queue? And what is SLOWLY? Have these been tested in court?
Caravaners - davo
Best bit of advice I can give to a caravaner is..........

buy a static:-))
Caravaners - PhilW
I knew there would be someone (or many!!) unable to resist!!! Actually it is static - when parked on that beach in Greece, with the sun going down, a glass of wine in hand, the warmth of the day's sun radiating from the sand, the waves making a gentle swishing sound ..........
It's the b***** M20, M25,M1 on the way back that's the problem!!
Caravaners - terryb
Well said Phil!

Can't think of anything worse than having to go back to the same place year after year.

Also not uinknown to be a static when on M25, M26, M20 etc etc.....
Possibly repetitive but... - Flat in Fifth

So what about an interpretation of Highway code rule 121 re one way streets??


especially the bit "remember traffic could be passing on both sides"

Possibly repetitive but... - dave18
I looked up that case on Westlaw (not posting the link as its an academic resource and I doubt I should) and the driver holding up the outside lane had been subjected to flashing headlights for some time.
I don't know which driver has behaved the worst but I doubt many people truly maintain patience in such circumstances.
If I work out how to look for related cases I will do because I need to learn how to use the system more comprehensively anyway!
Possibly repetitive but... - DavidHM
Related cases on Westlaw are those cited, distinguished or overruled. They are usually listed at the bottom of the page.

There's no point in posting the link to Westlaw unless you're going to post your user name and password as well - don't do it though.

I haven't managed to find any cases either applying or distinguishing Trentham v Rowlands. The earlier case of Bracegirdle v Oxley [1947] found that no danger existed when a 6 ton truck was driven at 40-45 mph (where such vehicles were then limited to 20mph on NSL roads) and therefore acquitted of dangerous driving. However, that was held to be an unreasonable position to take and manifestly excessive (!) speed was itself a sufficient ground to convict.

That case has been applied many times, mainly in terms of whether or not it reasonable for a magistrates' bench to reach a particular conclusion and is therefore akin to a judicial equivalent of Wednesbury unreasonableness.
Possibly repetitive but... - Dwight Van Driver

I cannot, for obvious reasons, tell you what to do but if you are aware of what the legalities are then you can form a basis for a course of action should you wish to do so on your own accord.. Bear in mind that your speed limit on a Motorway will be 60mph (Car towing caravan).

As a white van driver (70mph) I have been faced with the same situation and with a few thousand cartons of yoghurt aboard to make progress when faced with the situation you outline, did not fancy swapping lanes into dense outside lane fast traffic unnecessarily and thereby causing the load to move, so I quietly kept my course and gingerly and attentively went down the inside, taking extra care when a vans length from the rear until I was level with the front of the vehicle. Had I been stopped then I was prepared not to accept a ticket for reasonable consideration/due care and pleaded my case before a Magistrate basing my reasons that the vehicle ahead was causing more danger than myself. In fact I would expect Plod to summons the vehicle hogging the lane for driving without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.

There is no implied Licence to anyone to do this on my say so. (Sit down Toad aka TT.)

Strange that the Motorways Traffic (England and Wales) Regulations 1982 does not specifically prohibit such conduct?


Is it not a fact that Traffic using a One Way Street will be travelling relatively slowly and either turning right or left at its junction with the main thoroughfare (do they have these in Barnsley?) In which case the vehicle on the right will be in its dedicated lane and by its position be signalled that it was to do so thus allowing an undertake as mentioned in the Highway Code? Funny but my 1993 and 1997 edition of HC has nothing in about OWS but there again I do come from the backwards of the three Ridings.....


According to my notes may I submit that Bracegirdle v Oxley 1947- which held that it was dangerous driving where a lorry was going at twice the permitted speed along a road normally carrying heavy traffic, overtaking without a signal on a bend and 'charging at narrow bridges' - is totally dissimilar to the matter under discussion that it has no relevance. Off track but as a studious person can you tell me why I can no longer access current precedents published in the Times Law Review from their site on the Web???
Possibly repetitive but... - Flat in Fifth

I've always thought that the term used for this activity ie "undertaking" is extremely well chosen for obvious and macabre reasons.

Though must admit that given the situation, camel train in lane 3, some traffic in lane 2 and nowt in lane 1, very tempting to take the line of least resistance. Keep up with the flow and when the stuff on your right slows due to, say, the compression waves quietly slip up the inside taking extreme DC & A naturellement.

but in a lighter vein, and as you might expect not at all seriously....

My old Prof would have given me a right shammocking over the following:-
"Traffic using a One Way Street will be travelling relatively slowly.."
"either turning right or left.."
"junction with the main thoroughfare...."
"in its dedicated lane..."

reckon thats assumptions one, two, three and four in a row, and Prof would have told me "FiF, given three assumptions, even YOU can prove anything! We'll have it done again for tomorrow please."

As for whether they have any main thoroughfares in Barnsley. Well I don't know but judging by a recent furious correspondence in the media and contrary to popular opinion Barnsley does appear to have....... errrm gay individuals, allegedly.

Possibly repetitive but... - BrianW
Only this evening;

A406 North Circular Road at Walthamstow.
Traffic relatively light for a change. Speed limit 50 mph. I was in the slow lane at 50. Nothing for a hundred yards or more in front in slow or centre lanes.

Than came up to a lady driving at 40 mph in outside lane.

I felt quite justified in undertaking in the granny lane at 50 mph. The middle lane was clear and she was hunched over the wheel with the obvious intention of carrying on in her own sweet way.
Had a look at her as I went past and concluded that maybe she thought she was back in her home country and driving in the slow lane.

Possibly repetitive but... - Mike H
Similar circumstances to an incident that happened to me 30 years ago. Travelling on 3-lane road, which had slimmed to two as it went over a junction. Car in outside lane, no other traffic, driving at 68mph (i.e. just below top wack of legal speed limit). No other traffic on road bar the two of us. I came up behind, flashed aforesaid car hoping he would move over. No luck, tried again. No response. So I overtook on nearside and carried on, noting prat remaining in outside lane. A few days later, I got a summons in the post for driving without due care & attention for doing this - turned out the car was driven by two rozzers on their way to act as witnesses in a court case. As a 19-year old, I didn't have the resources to argue. I guess they would say, in their defence, they were travelling at the legal limit so there was no need for anyone to overtake. But hell, I was only driving a Mini 1000 with a top speed of 80mph! Taught me a lesson though, and ever since then have never deliberately undertaken. It is, however, impossible to avoid on the M3 in the evenings, when all the morons are nose-to-tail in lanes 2 & 3.
Possibly repetitive but... - NWS
One day, perhaps we'll sense and pass a law which would make lane hogging a specific offence punishable by points and instant fine. Until then the idiot CLARAs will continue to cause other drivers to take things into their own hands, rightly or wrongly. I believe this is the situation in France and hands up who finds 200 miles on a Autoroute a pleasure because you're not forever being held up by boneheads who've forgotten what their mirrors are for?
Possibly repetitive but... - BrianW
"One day, perhaps we'll sense and pass a law which would make lane hogging a specific offence punishable by points and instant fine. "

You can only achieve this if the methods for detection exist.
And that mainly means the Mark 1 Eyeball.

Statistically, speeding and parking are about the only offences you are likely to be done for in 2003.

Dream on!
Possibly repetitive but... - NWS
A colleague told me she had been overtaken on the M55 by a Plod Range Rover who then put up "Lane Discipline" or something similar on the red matrix screen in the back window. If people saw this happening and then saw the car get pulled over, I think the message wouold get through, never mind what the perpretators then told their mates. There is hope!
Possibly repetitive but... - eMBe {P}
I follow the highway code and generally find that I end up getting "there" safer, less stressed, and on many instances ahead of the lane hoggers.

By moving over to lane 1 when the overtaking opportunied on lanes 2 & 3 (or 4) are limited due to crowding/bunching-up, it is much safer (you have a virtually clear lane 1) and eventually you end up creeping past, i.e. unintentionally "undertaking", all the traffic that has bunched up in the other lanes.

I also always allow more stopping room to the car in front when I have a loony following close behind, so as to give me the chance to bring him/her to a gentle stop if an emergency happens ahead. This is a technique that was recommended by DTel's "Ripley" column.
Possibly repetitive but... - Obsolete
Yes this has been gone over before and will be again. It is so common on a motorway to find lane 3 full, lane 2 half full, lane 1 empty. I find that moving to lane 1 sometimes encourages others to do likewise. Sometimes lane 2 hogs can be encouraged to move to lane 1 by keeping a safe distance and flashing headlights a couple of times every minute or two. Sometimes ovetaking them, and then when they are a safe distance behind, moving straight to lane 1 makes them move left. I suspect some of them are half asleep just driving on auto-pilot.

I have little problem undertaking gradually as per an earlier posting when lane 1 is empty. It can be so hard to get into lane 3 without compromising safety by darting into lane 3 between cars that are already too close.

M.B. Off topic but I agree with your sentiments. I have had numerous instances where following Ripley's advice has saved me from a dented car and possible serious injury. Mind you he did tend to rip into some of the people who wrote to him. He has a book out and I guess it is a must get.
Possibly repetitive but... - Yoby
I had an experience a year or so ago on the M4. Saturday night about 11pm so really quiet road. Middle lane hogger, nothing else around. I flashed from some distance away, then again as I got closer then obviously pulled out to overtake. Was interested to see that the headlights that had been following me for a long time did exactly the same ..... until they changed to flashing blue that is. Don't know whether they were pulled, but it somehow made me feel better!
Possibly repetitive but... - slefLX
I also always allow more stopping room to the car in
front when I have a loony following close behind, so as
to give me the chance to bring him/her to a gentle
stop if an emergency happens ahead. This is a technique that
was recommended by DTel's "Ripley" column.

This is also a technique quoted in "Roadcraft" the police driver's handbook so although I never saw Ripley it seems he gave good advice.
Possibly repetitive but... - BrianW
It also means that the looney has a gap into which he can go if the opportunity arises for him to overtake, thus making it easier for you to avoid him rather than relying on him avoiding you.

Value my car