A police force has been praised for clamping down on ‘middle-lane hoggers’ who refused to obey the rules of the road after being passed by officers in a marked car.
The issue of blinkered drivers who don’t drive properly on motorways is often regarded as one of other motorists’ biggest bugbears – in fact, a poll in 2018 revealed that one third (32%) of drivers on UK roads admit to the habit.
Essex Roads Policing tweeted on Tuesday: “More ‘middle lane hoggers’ dealt with overnight with referrals for educational courses. For those who reacted to a headlight flash reminder and moved over it was left at that, however some then moved straight back out again after we passed in our marked car, also moving to lane 1 to reinforce the lane they should be driving in – those drivers were stopped and reported for careless driving.”
The force was praised for taking action against drivers who refused to move, with one person writing: “Regularly see enforcement/education of this in Devon & Cornwall. Great to see Essex RPT doing the same.”
Another social media user added: “Good to see. It seems to be an issue that has got so much worse in recent years.” Another person wrote: “It’s just a shame other forces around the country don’t emphasise this message – too many middle lane daydreamers on the motorways.”
More ‘middle lane hoggers’ dealt with overnight with referrals for educational courses.
For those who reacted to a headlight flash reminder and moved over it was left at that, however some then moved straight back out again after we passed in our marked car, also moving…. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/csnfzyLKzV
— Essex Roads Policing (@EPRoadsPolicing) January 16, 2024
However some social media users criticised the way Essex Roads Policing utilised its resources. One user commented: “Great use of resources policing deserted roads at night.” Another user agreed to the clampdown but added: “I would agree with the sentiment if it was a busy road. The road is empty though.”
Meanwhile, a third user wrote: “Sometimes the middle lane is used because the left-hand lane is so trashed from all the HGV use it’s unusable. If there is minimum traffic on the road use the road!!!”
Essex Roads Policing said it had been enforcing road safety measures for some time, even though they don’t always post about it. They warned lane hogging can cause issues for drivers of HGVs and caravans who cannot drive in lane three, even when the road is quiet. They emphasised that their enforcement of road safety measures did not affect their availability for other work.
They added: “These same drivers who have shown their poor driving ability, awareness and knowledge will also do this and worse during the day/busier conditions.”
What are the dangers of middle lane hogging?
The RAC says that during busy periods, middle-lane hogging can cause congestion as traffic funnels through to the outside lane as cars pass a lane hogger. It adds that if the driver in the middle lane moved over, the same traffic could be split over two lanes.
Sticking to the middle lane can also be seen as selfish, it says, because if someone is correctly following the Highway Code and driving in the inside lane when they catch up with a middle-lane hogger, they then need to move across two lanes to overtake them to avoid ‘undertaking’.
Undertaking puts the driver at risk of being hit by the first driver if they decide to switch lanes. This is because the driver undertaking is in the blind spot of the first driver and is less visible. As a result, undertaking and trying to overtake slower drivers is one of the primary causes of road accidents. The RAC says this also means the overtaker has to complete four lane changes in total, instead of two.
New laws were introduced in 2013 which allow police officers to issue on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points for various offences such as middle lane hogging.