Centre Lane Cruising

How many times are we driving up the motorway and we come upon a car travelling in the centre, middle, lane with the inside lane clear.

This highly dangerous practice often causes other vehicles to take evasive action to avoid an accident. The drivers who follow the practice, known as centre lane cruising, seem oblivious to any other road user even at the busiest of times.

The rule here is quite simple, in the United Kingdom we drive on the left, not in the middle of the road but on the left hand side of the road. This rule is true no matter how many lanes are present, we should be on the left unless we are passing traffic or some other obstacle.

When we enter onto a motorway the rule is also true, I have even seen idiots joining the M6 motorway and traverse immediately to the centre, middle, lane where they continue on their way completely unaware of the mayhem they are causing with vehicles taking evasive action to avoid a collision.

Many of these centre lane cruisers are gentlemen of a certain age who refuse to accept they are driving badly, a common excuse is I am driving at seventy miles per hour in the fast lane no one should be going faster than me so I will not be overtaken.

There are two problems here firstly, emergency vehicles may well be travelling at higher speeds than seventy miles per hour, it is our responsibility to drive safely ourselves and be aware that others may make mistakes or be deliberately flouting the law. We should not assume that as we are travelling at seventy mph others will not be travelling faster.

Secondly the fast lane name tag is long gone.

When the motorways were first built in the nineteen sixties, there were far fewer cars on the road, motorways were designed for high speed motoring, that is speeds well in excess of one hundred miles per hour, there was no speed limit on the motorway therefore someone travelling at over one hundred miles per hour would be in the fast lane, vehicles travelling at seventy miles per hour would be in the inside lane.

All this changed in the early nineteen seventies when the oil producing countries cut the supply of oil causing a shortage of petrol, a seventy mile an hour speed limit was introduced as a temporary measure to conserve fuel.

Of course governments being what they are once a freedom has been lost it will not be returned so the limit stayed.

However this change required a change in thinking, the limit concentrates vehicles together and increases the number of vehicles on the road at any one time. Seventy is no longer a fast speed so the old lane system changed. Now we should keep left unless we are passing another vehicle.

At road junctions lanes may be allocated for vehicles travelling to specific destinations, in this case we should get into the correct lane early and we should be in the left lane of the designated lanes for our destination.

Say no to centre lane cruising, keep left if the left lane is clear.

Drivers who are unable to grasp this concept should enrol in a motorway driving course with a good local driving instructor to bring themselves up to date with modern driving techniques.


See more driving tips here.

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