2013 saw the introduction of laws making it an offence to drive on a British motorway in a careless manner. The range of offences covered by this law is extremely wide, ranging from dangerous behaviour – such as tailgating, to more subjective acts such as ‘not being in full control of the vehicle’.
A change in the law which many people feel was overdue, these new guidelines cover people hogging the middle lane. Causing phantom traffic jams, encouraging dangerous undertaking and – generally just an irritation – driving in the middle lane are all now considered to be offences. However, most people that do this are genuinely unaware that what they are doing is unsafe.
Fines for middle lane offences are set at £100, with 3 points attached. This is a high price to pay for a matter which can easily be avoided.
Much of the confusion relating to motorway driving comes from the fact that it isn’t included on driving tests. This means bad habits are passed from driver to driver, with many people thinking that the middle lane is meant for ‘cruising’.
In order to comply with the new regulations, here are a few points to keep in mind when driving on the motorway:
- Stay in the left lane unless overtaking. The majority of your driving should be done in the left hand lane.
- Leave enough room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front. This should be roughly two seconds. Leaving this gap will give you the time to react to hazards as they arise. Tailgating can lead to major accidents.
- Be aware of weather conditions. Heavy rain and fog will make driving much more difficult. Adjust the gap you leave to accommodate these.
- Remember to indicate in good time. This will allow drivers around you enough time to react to your movement.
- Avoid distractions. Not being in control of your vehicle is grounds for a fine under the new rules. Under no circumstances should you use a mobile phone when driving.
- Do not drive for excessive amount of time without taking a break. Motorway driving can be monotonous and it is easy to become drowsy. Taking a break will help you drive more safely.
- Anticipate Hazards. Sweep the road ahead and predict the movement of other vehicles. remember to check your mirrors too.
Do you agree with the new, more stringent motorway rules? If not, what changes would you implement to them?