In case you missed it, give your drivers a reminder about a motorway etiquette TV ad to cut delays and avoid fines.

A TV safety campaign is urging drivers to think differently about two of the most annoying and dangerous motorway habits. 

And road safety watchdogs say it’s critical that the simple but potentially lifesaving messages in National Highways’ ‘Little Changes Change Everything’ TV ad aren’t forgotten.

In case you missed it, the ad featured driver Darren who used to be a middle lane hogger and tailgater… until he changed his ways to enjoy life in the safe lane.

Now he’s a happier and much less stressed driver, who celebrates by singing along to En Vogue’s 1993 hit Whatta Man as he stays in the left-hand lane whenever possible.

But although he’s doing his bit to make sure we all get to our destination safely, nearly a third (32%) of drivers say they lane hog on motorways and A roads. 

And the same Ipsos UK survey of 2,500 road users showed almost a quarter (23%) admitting to bullying the vehicle in front by getting too close.

At best, both are dangerous because they cause stress and anger in them and their ‘victims’. At worst, they can be fatal, say the AA and RAC who backed the campaign.

The awareness push also aims to show how staying in the middle lane:

      disrupts traffic flow and can be dangerous

      causes congestion 

      increases the risk of collision.

It reminds viewers that it’s the driving habit most likely to cause frustration, while tailgating on the fastest roads makes victims and culprits feel anxious, stressed or unsafe.

The Government agency wants the campaign and ongoing support from domestic and fleet drivers to halve the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads by the end of next year.

Here are a few pointers from the RAC about lane hogging and why it’s a bad idea.

What is middle lane hogging?

It’s when you ignore rule 264 of the Highway Code which states “you should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear”.

If you’re overtaking slow-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past. Middle-lane hogging is when vehicles stay in the middle lane longer, even when there are no vehicles in the inside lane to overtake.

What’s so bad about it?

When it’s busy it causes congestion as traffic is forced to funnel through the outside lane to pass a middle lane driver. 

It’s selfish because it forces drivers to move across two lanes to overtake the hogger to avoid ‘undertaking’. That means the overtaker has to complete four lane changes in total.

Why do people do it?

It’s not really clear, but unlike trained, professional drivers it might be because practical motorway practical isn’t part of the UK driving test for most drivers. It could also be that      it’s easier to stay in the middle lane rather than move in and out of the inside lane.

Isn’t it safer to sit in the middle lane, instead of weaving in and out?

Changing lanes is one of the riskiest M-way manoeuvres because of blind spots, misjudging another car’s speed or moving into a space at the same time as another vehicle.

That’s why drivers should avoid excessive weaving caused by the blockers. Use common sense on when it’s best to remain in the lane you’re in, and don’t always think the grass is greener.

However tempting it might be to switch lanes if others seem to be moving quicker, it simply causes extra congestion if other drivers have to brake to let you in.

If everyone stays in their lanes, congestion usually eases quicker than if people keep trying to move into the fastest lane. It’s more relaxing too.

What should you do if you see a middle-lane hogger?

Despite publicity around the fines, hoggers are still a common sight. But while annoying, you should resist the urge to react. Being overcome with road rage is more dangerous than lane hogging.   

Is it illegal?

Yes, it falls under ‘careless driving’, along with tailgating… when car drivers fail to keep a safe distance of at least two seconds between them and the vehicle in front.

That’s for cars, but the heavier your HGV, the bigger the gap between you and the vehicle in front should be. So try a gap of three seconds but stretch it to four or more in bad weather.

Tailgating is reckless, illegal and can mean fines, points on your licence or even a ban. If someone is tailgating you, it's best to safely move to the left lane and stay a safe distance from other road users.    

Tony Burgess, Business Pay Director at fuelGenie, says: “It matters to us that our customers get home to their families safely each day, so if it means these reminders prevent one accident, one delay or help cut stress, sharing the message will have been worthwhile.” 

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