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Last month, a van driver in Cheshire became the first to be successfully prosecuted under new rules giving police broader authority to enforce lane-hogging regulations. The driver received five penalty points and fines totalling nearly £1,000 after he was caught hogging the centre lane on the M62. His actions caused as many as six drivers who came up from behind to have to break suddenly before overtaking him, creating a potentially dangerous situation that could have resulted in a serious accident. Police were quick to warn that a van licence is not a licence to hog the middle lane.

In an attempt to curb what is becoming an increasingly more difficult problem in Cheshire, local authorities have embarked on a campaign to educate drivers. They are being joined in that campaign by Highways England. Efforts will include a series of five adverts and electronic message boards encouraging drivers to keep left for their own safety. The adverts will warn drivers of potential fines and penalty points for lane hogging violations.

Highways England research shows that one in seven drivers admit to a tendency toward aggressive driving when coming upon a lane hogger. Drivers find themselves irritated and frustrated when traffic flow is impeded by centre lane hoggers who cause tailbacks and dangerous overtaking manoeuvres. Sometimes that irritation can escalate into a road rage scenario.

Cheshire Police inspector Richard Hill told Fleet News UK that there is a common misconception among drivers that the centre lane is the safest place to be on a motorway. That is actually not true. Remaining in the centre lane and forcing other cars to overtake causes a dangerous situation that can easily result in a multi-vehicle collision. Staying to the left is the safest practice unless preparing to overtake another vehicle.

As for the Cheshire campaign, officials are hoping drivers get the message sooner rather than later. Whether it is a van driver holding up traffic or a passenger vehicle creating a tailback during a period of heavy congestion, fines and penalties points will be handed out aggressively over the course of the 12-week campaign. A minimum £100 fine and three-point penalty will be the norm in most cases.

Courteous Driving Is Safe Driving

It has been our experience that teaching professional drivers to be courteous also makes them safer drivers at the same time. The centre lane hogging problem is a good example. Your average driver is likely to consider keeping left a matter of courtesy without understanding it is also an issue of safety. Keeping left is something we include in our van licence training.

The HGV Training Centre offers van licence training alongside our training for HGVs and PCVs. We are one of the UK’s leading training providers with convenient locations throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. We would be happy to enrol you in any of our classes as soon as you are ready to begin driver training.

Sources:

  1. Fleet News UK – https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/news/fleet-industry-news/2015/07/29/new-campaign-warns-middle-lane-hoggers-of-dangers

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