IF THE sight of a car hogging the middle lane of a motorway makes your blood boil, you’d best avoid London and the south-east of England.
According to a new study, the region, and the capital city at the heart of it, are the worst for middle-lane hoggers.
The problem is most acute on a stretch of the M4 near Slough, but the M25 is little better. It is home to five areas blighted by drivers seemingly glued to the middle lane.
The study, commissioned by Direct Line, the car insurer, analysed traffic flow data from nearly 6,500 sites on the Highways Agency motorway network. To identify the worst lane hogging, researchers compared the amount of time on each motorway that occupancy in the middle lane exceeded the inside lane.
In a separate analysis, the insurer asked drivers about their attitudes to lane hogging. While most knew that it was illegal and that best practice is always to drive in the left-hand lane when the road is clear, a sizeable proportion (59%) still admitting doing it.
Their excuses ranged from “it saves changing lanes” to “it’s habit”. Almost a third said they hogged the middle lane often without realising it. The worst offenders were aged over 65.
Under laws which came into force one year ago, drivers caught hogging the middle lane face a £100 fine, and three points on their licence. A study conducted six months after the laws were introduced found that almost 5,500 drivers had been stopped by the police for a range of traffic offences, including hogging the middle lane. Thames Valley Police stopped the most lane hoggers.
Average amount of time where occupancy in lane 2 and 3 is greater than in lane 1
- M4 J5-J6 Westbound Lane 2 (Slough) – 27%
- M1 J4-J5 Southbound Lane 2 (Watford) – 26%
- M4 J7-J8/9 Eastbound Lane 2 (Slough) – 24%
- M25 J4-J5 Clockwise Lane 2 (Sevenoaks) – 22%
- M25 J12-J13 Anti-Clockwise Lane 3 (Cheshunt) – 21%
- M4 J2-J3 Westbound Lane 2 (Brentford) – 19%
- M25 J18-J19 Anti-Clockwise Lane 3 (Watford) – 19%
- M25 J16-J17 Lane 3 (Gerrards Cross) – 17%
- M4 J5-J6 Eastbound Lane 2 (Heathrow) – 16%
- M25 J16-J17 Anti-Clockwise Lane 3 (Gerrards Cross) 12%