Middle-lane motorway hogs and aggressive tailgaters are angering other drivers and putting fellow motorists at serious risk, according to driving experts.
Calls have been made to improve the standard of motorway driving on the Fylde coast after a Freedom of Information request found 22 offences middle or outside lane hogging had been recorded on Lancashire’s roads in just a three month period between August and November last year.
But the figure could be much greater as it is not mandatory for officers to stipulate the exact offence on official documents when pulling over rogue motorists
Today, driving instructors and frequent motorway users united to urge the hoggers to think of their fellow road users.
Derek Ronson, who runs a driving school in Preesall, said: “It’s just dangerous because you can’t undertake and you have to manoeuvre out round two lanes to get round them.
“The main problem is people get angry with people who are lane hogging.
“Unfortunately you can drill it into (pupils) because we can’t teach them on the motorway.”
An optional scheme which teaches new motorists how to drive on the motorways currently exists, although Mr Ronson estimates just five to 10 per cent of pupils take this up.
He believes post-pass lessons should be compulsory before new drivers are allowed on the motorway, adding: “There should be something to say they’re not allowed on the motorway until they’ve had two, three or four hours of professional tuition.
“Something needs sorting because it happens a lot.”
Andy McLelland, of Airport Transfers Blackpool taxi service, making two or three trips a day along the M55 and further afield.
He says he once followed an outside lane hog for the entire length of the motorway.
Mr McClelland said: “It’s one of my bug bears, especially at night.
“There’s no need to be in the outside lane, especially at two or three o’clock in the morning.
“There are a lot of people who drive too slowly in those lanes too, at 40 or 50 miles per hour.
“It should go back to what it used to be where there was a minimum speed limit on the motorway.”
Ian Taylor, from the Alliance of British Drivers, said: “Hogging, especially outside lane hogging, is not to be recommended - it’s an incosiderate act. It’s nice to know they’ve been active enough as traffic police to do something about this though.
“It encourages other traffic to do things they shouldn’t do and it’s considered bad manners at the very least.”
Terry Godbert, chairman of the Blackpool and Fylde branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The people who do this need to know about what they’re doing. They must think to themselves ‘why am I in lane two or three?’ They’re very inconsiderate to people.”
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Whichever way you cut it, anti-social driving is not just annoying it can also kill people.
“In 2012 aggressive driving was a factor in 98 fatal accidents and tailgating contributed to 16. The encouraging thing is that this new law is being used by police.
“The long term test is whether accident rates actually fall.”
Truck driver David Houghton, 44, from Forton, near Garstang, said: “You get some people on the motorway who move back into the middle lane after you’ve passed them.
“There’s a lack of mirror usage.”
What is the law?
Part 264 of the Highway Code says: “You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.
“If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.”
In June last year the Government introduced on the spot fines of £100 for those who are guilty of hogging the middle or outside lanes.
Annoucning the new rules, Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said (pictured above) : “Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk.
“That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.”
Edmund King, AA President, added: “We are pleased to see that at long last new powers and fines will be given to the police to tackle the top three pet hates of drivers – tailgaters, mobile phone abusers and middle lane hogs.”
The facts and figures of driving offences
Between December 1 2012 and November 30 2013
Using phone while driving: Western Division - 416 in total, of which 101 were women and 315 were men.
32 cases ongoing, 44 fined, 74 were taken to court and 231 went on driving courses.
Seatbelt offences: Western Division - 249 in total, of which 49 were women and 200 were men.
11 cases ongoing, 40 fined, 30 were taken to court and 149 went on driving courses.
Driving without due care and attention: Western Division - Nine total, all men. Eight ongoing and one sent to court.
Between August 16 and November 15
Failing to give way - five offences.
Overtaking and pushing into a queue - six offences.
Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue at a roundabout - four offences.
Middle and outside lane hogging - 22 offences. Inappropriate speed - 15 offences.
Wheelspins, handbrake turns etc - 16 offences. Details not noted - 33 offences
What road users think
Matt Watts, 42, from Highfield Road, South Shore, said: “As a motorist and a cyclist I must say that impatience is the biggest problem on the roads.
“People seem to be in such a hurry to get everywhere so fast, not willing to give each other time and give them space.
“Also just things like indication and letting each other know where’ you’re going, so it’s just generally giving concern for motorists and other road users.”
Julia Moricon, 42, from Admiral close, St Annes is currently teaching her 17-year-old daughter Georgia Fifer to drive.
She said: “What bugs me about driving is many people who don’t indicate and people who don’t adhere to speed limits, going slow as much as going fast, because that angers other drivers.
“The main one is indicating.”
Jonathan Scott, 24, from Sheringham Way, Poulton, said: “What really annoys me is people not indicating.
“Where I live it’s quite a small little area and there are youngsters that race around not caring about anyone round, then generally pulling out in front of them.”
Laura Cox, 34, from Threlfall Road, South Shore, added: “I don’t like careless driving and people pulling out when they shouldn’t.”