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New research into the cause behind one of drivers’ biggest pet hates on the motorway, middle lane hogging, has revealed a list of excuses that motorists make to justify the annoying bad habit.
It can be the most frustrating causes behind motorway driving delays – motorway lane that is otherwise an open road, but is blocked by a middle lane hogger.
A recent poll commissioned by Direct Line, the insurer, of more than 2,000 drivers has found that six out of 10 motorists admit to being middle lane hoggers as well as explaining their reasons behind the dangerous and selfish act.
Results from the survey revealed that one in ten drivers actually confessed to hogging the middle lane, even when the “slow” lane was clear – “always” or “regularly” with 43 per cent of hoggers admitting that they drive in the middle lane because it was an “easier way to drive” and “saves me changing lanes”.
The second most popular response was “I only do this when the road is quiet” – an explanation provided by 38 per cent of respondents, while under a third insisted they hogged the middle lane “without realising” they were doing it.
Nearly one quarter of people admitted they hogged the middle lane because “it is a safer way to drive on the motorway” whilst 18 per cent said it was simply a “driving habit”. Motorists aged over 65 were the worst offenders with 66 per cent saying they did it compared with 59 per cent overall.
The research went on to reveal the worst stretches of motorway in England for middle lane hogging based on an analysis of Highways Agency data from 6,500 sections of motorway, and all of the 10 most “lane hogged” sections were in London and the south east.
The M4 westbound at Slough, between junctions five and six, was found to be the worst in the country for middle lane hogging with 27 per cent, with the second worst the M1 southbound at Watford, between junctions four and five, with 26 per cent.
Rob Miles, from Direct Line, said: “Lane hogging causes congestion, reduces the capacity of the roads, and most crucially, can be dangerous.
“It is also illegal which means drivers could face a £100 on-the-spot fine and three points on their license if caught.
“Motorists are risking their own safety and the safety of other road users through their actions so we’d urge them to be aware of the other lanes and drivers around them when on the road.
“If the inside lane has space, you should move into it.”
Middle lane hogging became an offence last August when the Government introduced fines for failing to move into a clear inside lane, as well as for tailgating. Fixed penalties of £100 and three driving licence points for “careless driving” were brought in as part of an attempt to tackle anti-social driving not serious enough to warrant an appearance in court.
However, records from 17 of the country’s police forces show that only 21 drivers had been penalised for hogging the middle lane.