Motorway Lane Discipline

Motorway Lane Discipline

You may have just passed your driving test and are now the proud owner of a brand spanking new full UK driving licence. However, not everyone has the benefit of being able to then go on to an advanced driving course that will really teach them about how to handle driving on a motorway. In which case, this article is a MUST read before you get into any bad habits.

If you’re someone who has had your licence for a while and think you know everything about motorway driving, you might be in for a shock! You see the law on motorway lane discipline in the UK is that you only use the two outside lanes when you intend to overtake. This may surprise some of you because there are an alarming amount of “qualified” drivers on the roads that simply don’t understand this rule, or choose to ignore it!

The Myths

  • Some people you come across view the inside lane (or the first) as the “slow” lane – not true! This is the lane where vehicles travel when they have no need to overtake.
  • Others think it’s their God given right to zoom along the motorway in the middle or 2nd lane without moving over. There may be several reasons for this. They might be nervous about moving lanes and have got stuck there (although that doesn’t account for this situation on the rare occasion the motorway is empty)! It could be they can’t be bothered to use their mirrors, and turn the wheel slightly so they can move over, or it could just be complete ignorance.
  • Drivers often refer to the 3rd lane (or the outside lane) as the “fast” lane – also not true! This lane is there if you need to overtake vehicles that are travelling too slowly in the first two, and was originally put there to ease traffic congestion.

Why You Should Use Motorway Lane Discipline

This is a simple statement to answer. It’s safer! For example, Lorries’ are big heavy vehicles that can cause a lot of damage if they’re involved in an accident. This type of vehicle is not allowed to use the outside lane on a motorway so they only have two open to them.

Say you’re “hogging” the middle lane and the motorway is moderately busy but you’re travelling too slowly for a lorry. The driver needs to overtake a vehicle on the inside lane but you’re in the way. They cannot go around you to the 3rd lane (it’s against the law), yet they can’t remain behind you because you’re stuck in their overtaking lane.

This can, and does lead to terrible accidents, which is just one of many reasons why you should observe the rules! We say this to all new drivers who have not been able to benefit from taking a pass plus:

Ignore people if they refer to motorway lanes as “slow”, “middle” and “fast”. Instead, remember they are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Oh, and also remember the maximum speed limit is 70mph and that’s there for a reason too!


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