Can You Undertake a Middle-Lane Hogger?

    Is there anything more infuriating than a middle lane hogger?

    If you’ve ever been a passenger in middle lane driver’s car, you’ve probably heard every excuse under the sun.

    • They don’t like to weave in and out of traffic.
    • They’re always going at exactly the speed limit so no need to change lanes.
    • It’s safer to stay in one lane.
    • It takes too long to accelerate after leaving the left lane.

    But the fact of the matter is that they’re going against the Highway Code.

    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.”

    But the question is, what’s the right thing to do if you’re approaching a middle lane driver?

    How to Deal With a Middle-Lane Hogger

    If you’re approaching a middle lane driver from the left lane, it’s often unclear whether the right thing to do is to undertake them in the left lane or to move across two lanes of traffic in order to get round them and return to your original position.

    The Highway Code says that for the most part you shouldn’t undertake: “Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake.”

    This means that, as annoying as it may be, the legal course of action is to overtake them on the right when it’s safe to do so.

    Is It Ever Acceptable to Undertake?

    There are a few situations where you are permitted to undertake.

    For example, if traffic is slow-moving or congested, “where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right.

    “In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake.”

    Similarly, undertaking may be acceptable if average speed checks are in place, when signage advises you to ‘stay in lane’, and if another car is turning right.

    What Could Happen if I’m Caught Undertaking?

    Undertaking in and of itself isn’t illegal, but you could be landed with a fixed penalty notice for careless driving.

    A penalty like this could land you with three points and a £100 fine.

    So that’s that. If you encounter a middle lane hogger, resist the urge to flash or beep them, then carefully overtake them on the right-hand side.