When Is Undertaking Not Undertaking?

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When Is Undertaking Not Undertaking?

Joined
Dec 5, 2006
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Wrexham, North Wales
So we all hate those middle/right lane hogs but what do you do about them.

I've tried several strategies but have often been left with only the "inside crawl by" option.

So clearly weaving in and out of traffic to deliberately undertake is a no no, worth a least 3 points on your license and possibly even reckless driving offense.

The issue often occurs for me when on a 3 lane motorway/carriage way when towing. That lovely little hog tootling along in the middle lane at 55 mph. You pull out to behind but they don't move. You flash a couple of times, no change. You honk, no change. You legally cannot go into the right lane. Basically you have been baulked.

Your only way to make progress is to return to the left lane and proceed with caution at 56 mph very slowly pulling along side and continue. When well in front by several train lengths you then boot it up to 60 mph and leave the sucker behind. I've even had them flash and honk because they think they are rightfully in the fast lane and I should have used the overtaking lane to their right! (I'm glad the highway code now refers to the lanes by number, left most and rightmost).

When not towing and they middle cruise I'll overtake and when safely in front return to the left lane is a *very* positive manner. Did this once in front of a cop car and he then pulled the lane hog.

Of course when motorways get busy with all lanes full then often left moves faster than right etc. and you get natural differential flow speeds.
 
By the highway code, overtaking on the left is only allowed on one way streets and in slow moving or stopped traffic.

I've always liked the argument that if someone undertakes on the left, then you were in the wrong lane. Pity that makes you more wrong than them.

I travel from north to south quite a lot, and do notice it does get worse the further south you go. It's frustrating when in slower vans or towing and dont have the speed to just nip into the right lane if it's busy. And the right hand lave will be queued back with none of the southerners letting you in when indicating.

Dont know why the police cant clamp down on that more, it can cause lot of unneccessary congestion. Then again, the number of people you see still on the phone while driving is shocking, yet never caught.
 
By the highway code, overtaking on the left is only allowed on one way streets and in slow moving or stopped traffic.

I've always liked the argument that if someone undertakes on the left, then you were in the wrong lane. Pity that makes you more wrong than them.

I travel from north to south quite a lot, and do notice it does get worse the further south you go. It's frustrating when in slower vans or towing and dont have the speed to just nip into the right lane if it's busy. And the right hand lave will be queued back with none of the southerners letting you in when indicating.

Dont know why the police cant clamp down on that more, it can cause lot of unneccessary congestion. Then again, the number of people you see still on the phone while driving is shocking, yet never caught.
Well yes passing very slowly by on the left, (I won't say undertaking/overtaking as I'm going with the flow of the traffic in the left lane and it is the numb skull in the middle lane causing the problem ), is potentially risky but with no alternatives left, other than overtaking with trailer/caravan in the right lane, just sitting behind the middle lane hog creates other problems / frustrations for other drivers.

Often just approaching alongside without passing often wakes the hogg up as a caravan alongside is an insult to their ego!

As for "frustrating when in slower vans or towing and don't have the speed to just nip into the right lane" is not the case for my rig (which is not a wobbly box). Can/could dead easily and safely hit 80+ if I wanted to (you can and I have legally done this in France where 81 mph is allowed :) )
 
I’m sorry, but if you’re stubbornly plodding along in either middle or overtaking lane, and there’s a lane clear to the left of you, and I cant overtake, then I’m undertaking.

Not best practice, but as long as I’m not speeding to do so, I’m not breaking the law.

Too many middle lane hoggers around with a determination of 60’s plenty.
 
Well would be nice for some traffic cops to enter the discussion (anonymously of course).

I would like to think that sensible discretion is practiced in these circumstances, but you can never tell. I've only ever been caught for speeding once in 50 years of driving and that was a frigging camera van clocking me a 79 on a quiet free flowing dual carriage way in Sussex (well spaced vehicles all doing 79 or 80 mph). Yep bang on the 10% + 2. I hate to think how many others got zapped on that day. Opted for the more expensive course as opposed to 3 points so technically still have a point free license record!
 
Teh Highway Code says you can only overtake on the left if the traffic is moving in slow-moving queues. If the motorway is congested, and speeds are down to 25mph, I would argue that each lane moves at its own pace, and passing on the left will occur. A car doing 65 in the 70 limit is doubtful could be described as 'slow-moving'. Somewhere between is a threshold where passing on the left becomes acceptable. Good luck arguing if traffic is still moving adequately.
Add to that, 'what makes a queue?' Is it two vehicles, three, or how many? Once there is a convoy behind the lane-hogger, it could be seen as a queue.
Each circumstance will be individual.
If you are unable to use lane 3, as when towing, you are probably just stuffed.

There are so few police around, especially on the motorway, they have little opportunity to stop and educate the lane-hoggers.
You could dial 999 and report them. There just might be a police patrol nearby. Use the blue square signs every half kilometre to identify your position. They repeat the numbers on the 100m marker posts, and are the kilometres from the start of the motorway. The signs have the motorway number at the top, then an A or B to designate outbound or inbound, and the kilometres below.

I have found that sitting in the lane to their left, just behind them, and matching their speed mostly eventually wakes them up, as they start to feel uncomfortable. This needs care, and a good assessment of the other driver, as their reaction might be a little frightening. A business driver in an Audi for example, is likely to react by accelerating away. An old duffer may well just swerve left in a blind panic.
An alternative is to signal to them that there may be something wrong with their car, and see if they pull onto the hard shoulder. If you can get their attention of course.
(These are not official recommendations, just a bit of mischief)
 
I have found that sitting in the lane to their left, just behind them, and matching their speed mostly eventually wakes them up, as they start to feel uncomfortable. This needs care, and a good assessment of the other driver, as their reaction might be a little frightening. A business driver in an Audi for example, is likely to react by accelerating away. An old duffer may well just swerve left in a blind panic.
An alternative is to signal to them that there may be something wrong with their car, and see if they pull onto the hard shoulder. If you can get their attention of course.
(These are not official recommendations, just a bit of mischief)
Well yes sitting where you say will possibly make them feel uncomfortable. An if they suddenly left hand down dive then that presents a potential problem because they cut into your braking zone!

No you can't really win this sort of game. Even by sitting in their uncomfortable zone I guess you could be accused of not allowing them to return to the left lane!

On the whole sitting behind them at a safe distance flashing and honking is the best option and when you **** others off behind because you appear to be middle lane hogging then hopefully them behind will come to your rescue.

One trick that does work is to wait for a large truck to shove the culprit out of the way and follow him/her through. Their massive size, massive loud fog horns and searchlights normally get the culprit's attention. :)
 
I do think a public information campaign would work. You dont seem to get them now, growing up in the 70's I seem to remember all kind of advert information, driving on motorway, in rain, fog, snow. The only ones you get now are "dont drive like an idiot", which most people dont in general. Though the newer Dennis Leary one was quite memorable.

Or should the UK adapt the american approach of no lane rules?
 
I do think a public information campaign would work. You dont seem to get them now, growing up in the 70's I seem to remember all kind of advert information, driving on motorway, in rain, fog, snow. The only ones you get now are "dont drive like an idiot", which most people dont in general. Though the newer Dennis Leary one was quite memorable.

Or should the UK adapt the american approach of no lane rules?
Agreed, we need public information films.

Brings back memories of Reginald Molehusband parking his Austin 1100.
Edit: Sadly it appears that the original film no longer exists, so left only to the memory of us oldies.
 
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Ok here's my pennyworth. How many times has this happened to you. You are driving along doing 60 mph in the slow lane or left lane. A vehicle overtakes you doing 65/70mph then starts slowing down to about 55mph. So do you match there speed by slowing down, do you go from your lane to the outside lane to overtake them resulting in someone flashing there lights at you for not going fast enough, or do you carry on in the lane your in and theoretically undertake them.
If I'm not mistaken or the rules have changed, any vehicle that causes another vehicle to alter speed or change direction has committed a road traffic offence. So why wouldn't this rule apply to the topic in question.:unsure:
 
Ok here's my pennyworth. How many times has this happened to you. You are driving along doing 60 mph in the slow lane or left lane. A vehicle overtakes you doing 65/70mph then starts slowing down to about 55mph. So do you match there speed by slowing down, do you go from your lane to the outside lane to overtake them resulting in someone flashing there lights at you for not going fast enough, or do you carry on in the lane your in and theoretically undertake them.
If I'm not mistaken or the rules have changed, any vehicle that causes another vehicle to alter speed or change direction has committed a road traffic offence. So why wouldn't this rule apply to the topic in question.:unsure:
The middle lane yo-yos do really annoy me. They have no idea of their speed, and allow it to bounce up and down, sometimes by large variations.
Strictly, we should move out and overtake on the right, when safe to do so, with the risk of course, that once alongside they increase speed again. Most have no idea they are doing this. If the overtake is timed for when they are approaching something slower in their lane, such as a truck, this keeps them in check for your overtake of them, and the one in front. Then you can look forward to repeating the exercise a few minutes later.
I'm told, we're not allowed to shoot them. Or 'pit' them.
Recently, on the M4 towards Bristol, I came across a middle-aged guy in the left lane, in his own world, with his speed gently varying between 50-60. There was a long convoy of trucks in both lanes 1 & 2, unable to pass. I passed them all, moved to lane 1, and slowed to 50, thereby holding the dreamer in check. 5 minutes it took for all the trucks to pass, and then I could move along again. Very enjoyable, and lots of thanks from appreciative truck drivers. Can't do that if they're in the middle lane though.

If the vehicle in lane 2 slows, whilst it is inconvenient for those in lane 1, I think arguing that they have caused you to change speed or position might be difficult, if lane 3 is available. They are in effect, just a slower moving vehicle, which we find aheadof us all the time. If they swerved in front of you, causing you to brake, then they have committed the offence, but if they get even a short distance ahead, then slow, that's what traffic does.

On the motorway, we have to deal with multiple idiots. On single-carriageway roads, we only have to deal with one idiot at a time. When the motorway gets very busy, if not pressed for time, I will often take to the other roads to reduce the stress.
 
Ok here's my pennyworth. How many times has this happened to you. You are driving along doing 60 mph in the slow lane or left lane. A vehicle overtakes you doing 65/70mph then starts slowing down to about 55mph. :unsure:
That drives me up the wall. I usually have cruise control on motorways or dual carriage ways, I've found constant speed tends to be better for fuel.
People either end up over taking then slow down, menaing you need to brake and then over take. Or if you are at a contant speed, then you come up to someone slower, they speed up as you are passing, leaving you sitting at the same speed in the lane beside them, and no real point speeding up as they are now going faster than I set the cruise control speed.
 
Problem is that when towing Lane 3 is not legally available to you. So if you stay left and pass (slow and carefully) you are breaking the law. If you go right and pass you are breaking the law. If you are in a large towing vehicle with bull bar protection and you shove them up the rear you are breaking the law. If you are KIT the Knight 2000 car and Turbo Boost over the top of them you will get done for dangerous driving, low flying without ATC authorisation or worse still leaving the motorway at a non-approved exit :)
 
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