Lane discipline - a dying art? - Mike H
Rant mode on.

It becomes more and more clear over the years that the government doesn't need to build more roads, the money would be more wisely spent in driver education. I have recently returned from the annual holiday, which necessitated a drive from Dover up the M20/M26/M25 route to junction 10 of the M25, thence south. It's like entering Moron City when you hit the M25. Thanks to a combination of aggressive drivers of what they like to think of as fast prestious cars, and those others who find difficult in working out a) that they are on a motorway b) that there are actually four lines available for driving in c) that the speed limit is actually 70mph and d) what day of the week it is, the whole road may as well have been two lanes. Not much fun when you have 120 miles to drive, and have already covered 360 miles that day (not all driven by me I add). It's clear that the 5-lane stretch of the M25 round by Heathrow will be wasted, to get a true 5-lane you would have to go up to a physical 8-lane layout.....

Today, due to the South West Trains strike (don't start me on that!) I drove to work from Petersfield to Putney via the A3, leaving home early. On long stretches both before and after the M25 the inside lane was quite clear yet no-one was using it. The traffic was light to moderate, and there would have been no issue with performing a normal transition between lanes when appropriate (i.e. the chances of being baulked when wishing to overtake slower vehicles such as lorries) were minimal. There were no points where the inside liane beacomes a slip, so no issues there. Virtually no traffic joining, so no need to worry about continuous streams of traffic entering the road.

What is up with people??

Rant mode off.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - mss1tw
What is up with people??

They are idiots. I just undertake them. If they want to pile up like sheep in the other lanes that's their business. I just want to get where I'm going as efficiently and effortlessly as possible.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - leonora
Who is the idiot here if they decide to pull back in and you are in their blind spot?
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Mike H
My point really - it is neither safe nor legal (except in certain circumstances) to overtake on the nearside. For this reason, the only bit of usable road is in the same lane as the moron or on the outside (cue for drivers of "fast prestigious cars" to tail end you......).
Lane discipline - a dying art? - mss1tw
My point really - it is neither safe nor legal (except
in certain circumstances) to overtake on the nearside. For this
reason, the only bit of usable road is in the same
lane as the moron or on the outside (cue for drivers
of "fast prestigious cars" to tail end you......).

Exactly, woe betide you if you pull out into the outside lane and dare to actually do the speed limit.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Bill Payer
If I can pull around a middle lane moron without any problems then I do it, but if there's also traffic in lane 3 then I just continue in lane 1 and pass on the left.

Whether it's illegal or not is a grey area. My view is that it's certainly illegal if you switch lanes to undertake someone but if you simply continue in your own lane then that's arguably OK. You see marked Police cars doing it.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - mss1tw
Who is the idiot here if they decide to pull back
in and you are in their blind spot?

Me, but it's never happened yet. It's called observation of the vehicle and the driver. Normally bimbling along looking reminiscent of a lobotomy patient.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - David Horn
I'm with mss1tw and Bill Payer on this.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - George Porge
Saw an example of this selfishness last night on a journey from Crewe to Birmingham at 6PM when chummy in his brand new top of the Range Rover (big wheels, pimped windows etc) repeatedly left lane 3 to undertake using lane 2 and on another occasion used lanes 1 and 2. 20 miles later he was still in my sight and because he got away with his selfish driving Mr Type R followed in a similar manner. The 65 mile journey took me just over an hour in Bank holiday evening traffic on wet roads, there was absolutely no need for it!
Lane discipline - a dying art? - stevied
Can I play devil's advocate? Yes, it can be unnerving when people undertake, and yes, on a crowded motorway it is probably not a good idea.

BUT let's be honest... if people got out of the way and had the lane discipline to which Mike H refers, the traffic would flow better and faster. Morals of exceeding 70 apart (and it's not your job if you're driving to hold those up who are exceeding the limit!) people seem to have a fear of the inside lane that seems more to do with ego than anything else. Like they're admitting they're not "good enough" if they don't use the middle or outside lane. It's not just the UK, it just seems worse here (IMHO) because we have 3,4 and 5 lane motorways. In Germany, where many of the de-restricted motorways are only 2-lane, you'd be amazed how good discipline is.....

And before anyone rags me for my 159mph cop comments, please bear in mind my "beef" (as the kids say) was more to do with urban driving than motorway speeds. Thank you!
Lane discipline - a dying art? - stevied
PS I don't quite get the comment about "agressive drivers" and "fast prestigious cars"..... if someone wants to get past you, then they're not necessarily being agressive. And the fact that they're in a "prestigious" car is largely irrelevant... I've been tailgated by Kias, Daewoos... all sorts. I think it's a bit of a knee-jerk reaction when people slate cars rather than drivers. No offence n all that! : )
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Murphy The Cat
The suns just come out in the Lake District and it's going to be another beautiful day.


p.s. whats an M25.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - stevied
It's a circular car park near that London!

PS The weather south of you down the M6 is shocking!! You're v lucky it's nice in the Lakes...
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Murphy The Cat
It's a circular car park near that London!

Sounds nasty - and to people go to this car park of their own free will of is it just for people with "special needs" ?


You should see it up here, the suns just belting off the mountains. Did I mention that my 12 mile commute to work takes me 15 minutes each day (or 16 if the traffic lights are against me) ? Hmmm, I wish I lived in Southland (wheres the ROFLPMSL smiley)
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Blue {P}
Having had to drive through parts of London at the weekend that more closely resembled downtown Beirut than a major city I have to say I'm quite pleased to live up in Hicksville too :-)

Lane discipline - a dying art? - mk124
Drove from the lake district down to Sheffiield the other week. What annoys me is when you are actually overtaking something on your left, but going being tailgated by someone whilst lane 3 is empty. There is no justification for it.
I have to admit I just kept on lane 2 after I overtook the slower lorry just to irritate the other driver. The car tailgating then tried to undertake, but I promptly moved to lane 1. I know at times I am a reactionary driver and it was bad driving on my part etc,etc... but it made me feel better. What is it that makes drivers phobic about changing lanes? This particular driver apparently felt that undertaking was preferble to overtaking.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Murphy The Cat
Drove from the lake district down to Sheffiield the other week.

Dad, what are you doing, posting on here ?

Lane discipline - a dying art? - wotspur
A few weeks ago, having driven down to Chichester from Weybridge, and being nagged by SWMBO, on how to drive, she does about 2k a year, i do that in a fortnight, mainly about driving TOO FAST, 70-80 on A3, isn't excessive!!
So on the return journey, I drove at 50mph all the way home. I have never felt so tired .
When I drive normally I have to concentrate , use all 3 lanes , indicating and looking in the mirrors on every manouvre, doing 50mph, no need to THINK about it it all came into a haze and was monotonous.
Did the same journey on Bank holiday monday but came back via Petworth, 1 driver who transpired was nearer to 90 years old than 70, managed to do at least 10mph, below the legal limit on every road, with an equally incompetent driver behind for over 10 miles, until they arrived at the A3, when suddenly both found 4th gear.
Goodness me where do these BANK HOLIDAY drivers come from- please stay there
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Mike H
I speak from personal observation - most of the lane-shovellers, on both this and previous occasions on the same stretch of road, are of the type to which my comment refers. I agree that some runts get mixed in with the litter - and I can only assume that once these little rats get wound up, they're frightened to slow down....
Lane discipline - a dying art? - jacks
I'm with mss1tw and Bill Payer on this.

exactly - I too just keep going if in lane 1 and come across moron in lane 2 doing 45mph and lane 3 completely full with traffic overtaking the moron


observation is the key and ensuring you have safe space to move into if the moron does decide to move into lane 1 - normally the hard shoulder is available for such an emergency if you had to take avoiding action.

I wouldn't pass on the inside if there was no hard shoulder

I agree that it's dangerous to move from lane 2 to lane 1 to undertake - asking for trouble
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Lud
Undertaking is risky because people don't expect it. A lot do it but I don't except in slow traffic (when it is also legal, although I realise this is a grey area as speed is a matter of judgement).

Point is, if a motorist doesn't expect to be overtaken on the offside because he or she doesn't use the mirrors, and there are a lot like that, they won't expect to be overtaken on the other side either.

Although the Belgian motorways seem fussy and busy at first because it's a legal requirement to pull in after overtaking, I think we could do with a law along those lines. If nothing else it would stop the endless moaning on this site about middle lane hoggers which, worthy though the sentiment may be, gets a bit monotonous sometimes.

It would be good to see the majority of slack-jawed complacent mimsers getting a short sharp shock (other than being run into from behind by Toad... I've got nothing against him).
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Honestjohn
Well, I've just done another 500kms unscathed in Thailand (in a Jazz) where everyone overtakes both sides and I came through unscathed doing the same as everyone else. You just have to be more aware of what's going on around you. The next test comes tomorrow. 600 kilometres. And I don't know what kind of shape that car is going to be in.

Lane discipline - a dying art? - Hamsafar
As long as you have thought "what if that person moves back to the left?" and have devised a plan to deal with it, then there is no problen. I also don't believe it's illegal if done properly. The law is an art not a science in any case.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - s61sw
I think the point to remember here is that it is legal to 'pass' on the inside...if lanes 2 and 3 are filled with stationary/slow moving traffic, lane 1 is traffic free, and you're in lane 1, where else can you go? The grey area turns up when you come up behind, say a HGV, and decide to overtake into a space in lane 2 - have you undertaken all those cars you've passed?
S6 1SW
Lane discipline - a dying art? - smokie
The thing which surprises me is that no-one here appears to be a middle lane hog (or not own up to it anyway). I think in many cases it's difficult to define.

Dawdling along in the centre lane on an empty motorway is one thing. I don't do it, and it doesn't much bother me.

On a more busy road, whether to move over depends on the driver's judgement of how far awway the next vehicle in lane 1 is, their relative speedst, how long it will take to pass it, how much faster traffic is behind and and therefore whether it's worth it (and whether you'd ever get out again). There's probably a million other factors too.

IMO if there is a reasonable frequency of traffic in lane 1 which you are travelling significantly faster than, and there is no congestion in lane 3 (and none will be caused) then it is reasonable to stay in lane 2, so long as you are making "good progress". I can think of reasons to not change lanes unnecessarily, not least the blowout I had when I went over a damaged cat's eye on the motorway. Lane 1 on some motorways suffer from a bad surface which causes severe tramlining on some cars.

Lane discipline - a dying art? - Lud
Agree with all of that smokie, especially about the ruts hammered into lane 1 by HGVs which not only make some cars skittish but can dangerously accentuate impending suspension faults (collapsed rubbers, worn ball-joints and so on). I don't think this gets mentioned often enough.

But the essential thing if you're hogging or otherwise occupying the middle lane is to make the good progress. It's no use whining that you don't like driving over 60 or 65. If that is the case don't go on motorways, or drive in lane 1 with the other slow traffic. It just isn't reasonable to drive a car at less than the speed limit in the middle lane, unless the road is empty.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Tennis-Player
Weekday motorway driving is a lot different than driving on the same road at the weekend. For one thing, there are loads more lorries during the week so it's usually pointless going into lane 1 because you'd have to keep changing back to lane 2 and 3 every five seconds. Having said that, if there's free road in lane 1, and I'm not wishing to overtake anything, then I'll always take it.

In terms of speed, slow drivers are more of a menace than fast drivers IMO. If I'm doing 80mph in lane 3 whilst overtaking slower traffic, and there's someone behind tailgating me, then that's their problem. I'll pull into lane 2 and let them past as soon as I have the opportunity. It's not affecting me much. What does affect you though is when there's a slow car in lane 3 which is not overtaking anything and you can't get past. There's no excuse for purposly halting another drivers' progress.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Round The Bend
"The thing which surprises me is that no-one here appears to be a middle lane hog (or not own up to it anyway). I think in many cases it's difficult to define."

I'll put my hand up. I would n't call myself a middle land hog, but there are some circumstances when I'll linger in the middle lane being:

a) When the next vehicle in the inside lane is some way ahead but I can see from my mirror that I'll get blocked in if I move back to the the inside lane.

b) When the slow lane tram lines are so severe that it affects the handling of my car

In both of these examples, I will maintain motorway speeds and move inside if I am likely to block anyone else.

To answer other points, I do n't agree with undertaking. The precautions listed above are all sensible but we all know that if undertaking became "legal" then the motorways will become more dangerous as the usual morons will not take those precautions or the Sunday driver brigade will not check their mirrors ..... "Sorry Officer, I never saw him".

Lane discipline - a dying art? - stevied
Absolutely agree. Although I would like to say "hello... HELLO?!!" to the imbecile woman in the Fiesta on the M60 last night. If you're doing 60mph on a clear motorway, then i) stick to the inside lane or ii) don't go on it at all. I came up behind her, gave a half-hearted flash, no reaction so pulled out and overtook... she was sitting right up against the wheel, looking PETRIFIED, as if someone had made her go on the motorway against her will. I think, to be honest, 60 was the very fastest she's ever driven. How do these people pass their test?! And yes, she WAS causing congestion and annoying a lot of people. Mine was by far the most patient she got.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Cheeky
Some oblivious folk on M6 toll yesterday afternoon. Hardly ANYONE in lane 1, lane 2 was chocka
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Group B
Was driving down the M1 last night about 9pm, dark, hardly any traffic. I was in lane 1, a few hundred yards ahead in lane 2 was some berk in a Citroen Berlingo, with nothing ahead of him in lane 1 for at least half a mile. A Vectra in front of me had to go from lane 1 to lane 3 to overtake the idiot, but really took his time about it, presumably had cruise set to just a few mph extra. Then from nowhere came a Merc in lane 3 who proceeded to excessively tailgate the Vectra, which probably wound both those drivers up. This ridiculous situation could all have been avoided if the Berlingo had not been in the wrong lane.
I grudgingly take the point about getting blocked in to lane 1, because there are ignorant drivers who wont let you pull out. But the Berlingo had absolutely no reason to create his own little road block. Trouble is I see similar things happen several days each week!

Lane discipline - a dying art? - stevied
Quad erat demonstradum, or whatever the Latin is!

I think we all appreciate the points about excessive lane-weaving, and how it doesn't make you a better or safer driver. The above demonstrates idiocy, complete unawareness of what's going on around him, and selfishness. "I don't go in Lane 1 because that's for lorrries.". Er, no it isn't numpty. I hope Captain Berlingo is married to my scared looking friend in her 106. They deserve each other.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - Dalglish
.. I think we all appreciate the points about excessive lane-weaving ..

what i cannot understand is why no one in the uk seems to be lobbying for the "overtake in any lane" system to be made legal here. as afar as i can tell, in the countries where it is allowed, not only does it ease congestion, it also sharpens your attention to driving as you have to keep your eyes on what is going on around you in all lanes all the time.

middle lane hoggers seem to drive without paying attention to traffic behind them - whether in lane 1 or 2.

Lane discipline - a dying art? - Dalglish
..The thing which surprises me is that no-one here appears to be a middle lane hog (or not own up to it
anyway). ..

smokie - look here and at quite a few admissions from others below that post

Lane discipline - a dying art? - Lud
Quite a few have admitted to occupying the middle lane in this thread too.

It's a question of judgement. A 'lane hog' as we mean it is someone who is slow and unaware. Drives slowly, isn't quick to notice other cars coming up behind, takes an age to get out of the goddam way or doesn't even think it's necessary. I believe those on this forum who admit to staying in the middle lane to avoid the fussiness of going in and out, until the nearside lane is clear for some distance ahead, are probably not unaware and complacent in this way, although in other threads there's been a fair amount of 'if the other car's going way over the limit it's not my problem' sort of talk, the passive-aggression route which in my book is dangerous.

The essential thing if you like cars is to want to go briskly and to sympathise with those who want to go even more briskly, provided they aren't total pfds... Most really quick road drivers are pretty good. It's the slow ones who think they're quick who get in the way most.
Lane discipline - a dying art? - stevied
Lud has a habit of writing what I want to write but can't.... it's annoying but saves me typing I suppose.

Absolutely. I believe a rule of thumb for moving back into the next inside lane, if not always the inside lane, is 10 seconds ahead (assuming, and most decent drivers are good judges, that you can determine that fairly correctly).

I am the first to admit it can be a challenge on a crowded motorway, but it's such an underrated skill that immeasurably helps traffic flow.


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