Allow overtaking on both sides? - Phoenicks
Having been sat in the inside lane of the motorway, watching the outside lane of traffic move slower than my lane all because the car at the front of that lane was doing 40mph, isnt it about time we introduced the legal ability to overtake on both sides?

I experienced this in Australia and it works fantastically. Traffic keeps moving, a lot less anger, and more fluid driving.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Nsar
Yes, but it carries clear risks so I'd say only do it after a prolonged (a year maybe) period where the cops imposed instant fines/points for hogging middle or outside lane.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Phoenicks
It works very well in Oz, and the USA i believe without any more risks than now. Its just a question of using both mirrors when manouvering rather than one.

If Sweden can change an entire country to drive on the other side without incident i'm sure we can allow dual lane overtaking without problem.... ;-).

What risks do you foresee?
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Orson {P}
Highly sensible. Then, anyone who doesn't want to be overtaken on both sides will get in the LH lane,probably where they should have been in the first place!Certainly it seems a good use of the available roadspace.

Allow overtaking on both sides? - SR
Maybe if we had the suggested period during which penalties were imposed for hogging middle/outside lanes, there would be no need to change to overtaking on both sides.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Altea Ego
I see no problem with this at all. I too have driven in Aus and US, and it feels logical and safe. Infact it is actually legal on certain roads at certain times in the UK. M25 under the variable speed limit sections. You are supposed to travel up to the max speed in your lane and the signs say DONT CHANGE LANES.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Hawesy1982
I agree with SR, it is inherently safer to only allow cars to pass on one side, and if people learnt lane discipline better there would be no problems in the first place.

With three equal lanes you have issues such as three cars doing identical speeds right next to each other using all three lanes, none of these is actually 'hogging' the lane.
Whereas currently lanes 2 and 3 are described as overtaking lanes, in which case the cars in these should pass and then rejoin lane 1, which i think works better in theory.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Phoenicks
Sorry, but i disagree Hawesy. It is seen as inherently safer because that is what we are used to. However abroad they would say that they think it is inherently safe to overtake on both sides because that is what they are used to.

I agree that better lane discipline is required but you would have less chance of rear shunts, road rage, people would slow down as they would not have been held up and would probably increase road traffic awareness by requiring more mirror usage.

As you said, the current system works better in theory, but reality dictates we should evolve the way we drive, just as driving has evolved since the current road rules were introduced 40-50 years ago.

I think that if the people who dont think it would work went abroad and saw it working, and working well, they may think differently. Its just that the suggestion goes against all your established driver training and thinking.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - PR {P}
In France they cant overtake on both sides, but they seem to have excellent lane discipline (if nothing else!!) and there is no problem there either.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Nsar
Perhaps because they have instant fines for poor lane discipline!
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Canon Fodder

A quick observation......

I think the free for all approach only works when you have at least 3 lanes - preferably 4 - like most of the M25 where in my experience you can pretty well do what you like in terms of overtaking.

On an American dual carrigeway [2 lanes each way] the normal slow lane / fast lane system still seems to apply. Try sitting in the left lane at 55mph and you'll soon have a 3-ton Chevy Obliterator parked on your rear fender - he'll go over you before he goes round you.

Allow overtaking on both sides? - Hawesy1982
Phoenicks, HJ and others who prefer the American system:

Admittedly i have yet to experience driving in this system, so yes you could well be right about it generally working better, but i don't particularly see the problem with the current system.

I do 20,000 a year, mostly on motorways (ok some are more like carparks) and i've yet to see someone in the outside lane going slower than the middle lane flow for any real distance. Then again i can't say the same for middle-lane hoggers. I don't really have a problem with the outside lane, at least, being a 'fast' lane. As everyone has said, a touch more lane discipline would aid this further of course.

Just the implementation of this scheme would also be more likely to cause more hassle than it is worth too, with drivers not used to properly checking their left wing mirrors before changing left (yes i know they should anyway) i would expect this to cause a number of accidents in the early period of its implementation.

Thats my view on it anyway, i'm bracing myself for the comeback tho.....;-)
Allow overtaking on both sides? - kithmo
Having driven in Florida I found that the difficulty with allowing overtaking on any side means that you can get well and truly stuck in the outside or middle lanes due to the tailgating that goes on, making it difficult to switch lanes when you want to leave the freeway.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - THe Growler
Florida? What with all those old snowbirds doddling along in their RV's. Try Boston in the rush hour the day before Thanksgiving!
Allow overtaking on both sides? - SR
I don't think, as suggested earlier, that we could rely on both-sides overtaking to force better use of mirrors.

The fact is that lane discipline is nowhere near good enough in this country, and to allow overtaking on both sides would cause more problems. At least with the current system someone who has just overtaken a slower vehicle can at least be fairly safe moving back to the left lane if they don't use their mirrors properly....imagine what would happen if there could be a faster vehicle coming up the inside!

I'd far rather see the people who cause the problems at the moment, by hogging middle and outside lanes for no reason other than ignorance, dealt with promptly and severely.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Cliff Pope
This has been said before, but not so far in this thread.
If the lane you are in happens to be moving faster than an outer lane, that is not overtaking. (in the Highway Code, I think)
Overtaking is deliberately moving over to pass someone, and then moving back again.
The hold ups are caused by people who don't realise this, and sit in an inner lane too scared to get a move on just because the outer lane has ground to a halt.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - No Do$h
It has also been pointed out before that on the UK's heavily overcrowded trunk road and M-way network, no amount of lane changing will get you from a-b faster than the chap who stays in lane 1 the whole way, hence Cliff's point and the earlier post on the "don't change lanes" signs on M25 being eminently sensible.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - DougB
Overtaking on both sides works in the US & Canada because drivers maintain similar speeds. A difference of 10mph is normal so drivers have plenty of time to see what's happening.

In this country, we tend to take speed limits less seriously, so speed differentials can be 50mph or more. Until we become more regulated in our driving habits I think we should keep things as they are.

Regards DougB.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Clanger
Since 1978 (I think) it has been compulsory for cars to have been fitted with mirrors on both sides of the vehicle, and everyone does their mirror check before moving over, don't they? Therefore it should be a piece of cake to implement allowing overtaking on both sides and make some use of that unoccupied tarmac in lanes 1 & 2. I'm all for overtaking on either side seeing as we have manifestly failed as a driving nation to exercise the lane discipline that the French (and many others for all I know) exhibit.

Stranger in a strange land
Allow overtaking on both sides? - RichardW
1. There is no SPECIFIC offence in the UK of "Overtaking on the left" - the Highway Code merely advises against it. To prosecute the police would have to take you to court and prove you were driving dangerously or similar - ie they will not bother.

2. Until M-way driving becomes part of the driving test, and the majority of drivers who have no idea how to do it get trained, it will always be a nightmare, whether we 'allow' undertaking or not. Personally I hate driving on the M6 at around holiday times as it tends to be full of people who drive on the M-way only once or twice a year, do it at the busiest times, and don't have a clue. You can spot them a mile off, and it's a good game to try and predict how badly they are going to drive!


Is it illogical? It must be Citroen....
Allow overtaking on both sides? - pdc {P}
I dread weekend motorway trips, as weekend only mway drivers come out to play.
Allow overtaking on both sides? - eMBe {P}
para. 242 of the Highway Code states:

"Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake. In congested conditions, where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right. In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake."
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Malcolm_L
Difficult to define weaving in and out of lanes - if you move to a faster lane as is bound to happen if either lane overtaking is permitted, at what point can you move to another lane without being guilty of 'weaving in and out of lanes to overtake'.

Difficult to police (even if there were traffic police).

Traffic density in Oz isn't quite what we experience here either.

Allow overtaking on both sides? - Sooty Tailpipes
If someone's really taking the bits, I overtake them on the left anyway, and with good alround obervation. I think it's a sensible idea.

It seems to be an increasing phenomina, people drive on the right along a road I work on which has speed bumps, when they put the humps, in, they also made two wide lanes into three narrow ones, and one is a buslane for 2 hours in the morning as displayed on large blue signs, but 90% of people just see BUS LANE painted on the floor and assume it means all the time and pip and stick fingers up at me for passing them on the left as they stagger over the humps.

I also notice on the ring road (40mph dual carriageway) that people move over to the right to let emergency vehicles past, they see them in the distance behind them, and lots of dimwits move over to the right (which was otherwise empty)
Allow overtaking on both sides? - Cardew(USA)
In the USA overtaking on both sides leads to tailgating the like of which is rarely seen in the UK. Unless you sit a couple of feet from the back bumper of the car in front you will be undertaken and cut up.

Allow overtaking on both sides? - henry k
and one is a buslane for
2 hours in the morning as displayed on large blue signs,
but 90% of people just see BUS LANE painted on the
floor and assume it means all the time and pip and
stick fingers up at me for passing them on the left
as they stagger over the humps.

Please do not tell the world about this. These bus lanes are one of the small enjoyments of motoring in the urban environment.
Using them always makes me smile and yes I get the same sort of responses as you.
You have an even better run at the end of the evening rush hour when the lighting is poor and the sign says 7AM to 7 PM.
And while I am smiling please do not ecourage people to read OS maps so I can navigate through the countryside around traffic jams.

Value my car