It is all too common to see motorway and dual carriageway drivers failing to move into the left hand lane after overtaking. Part 264 of the Highway Code advises motorists that "You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear”.
Many motorists on UK roads don’t see a problem with middle lane hogging and are unaware that by doing so, they may be breaking the law. Some experts also believe that this style of driving leads to congestion on our motorways. There are also statistics that suggest lane hogging can frustrate drivers to the point whereby they admit that they resort to road rage.
Indeed, 50% of drivers who took part in one survey suggested that lane hoggers are among the most dangerous drivers on the roads. If so many motorists believe that lane hogging is dangerous, why do significant numbers of people continue to drive in the middle or outer lane, when the lane to their left is clear?
Some drivers believe that it is safer to remain in one lane and lack the confidence to change lanes where appropriate. However, motorists who are in the habit of lane hogging now need to be much more aware when driving on multi lane roads, as this year saw the first UK motorist prosecuted for lane hogging. The driver received 5 penalty points and almost a £1,000 fine for the offence of careless driving.
A conviction for careless driving can attract up to 9 points or even a disqualification. This would be particularly disastrous for new drivers, who have to retake their driving test when they receive more than 6 points in the first two years of driving. As a consequence of this successful prosecution, Highways England has joined forces with Cheshire Police in implementing a campaign on local motorways. If the campaign is successful, it will be rolled out nationally.
In a prosecution for careless driving on the basis of lane hogging, the police must prove that your driving has fallen below the standard expected of a reasonable, prudent and competent driver. The court would look at the prevailing circumstances when the lane hogging took place and any impact it may have had on other drivers on the road at the time.
An allegation of lane hogging could have serious implications for your driving licence.