Many of us drivers are guilty of staying in the fast lane.
But what does the law say? And how do you deal with it correctly? Here you will find everything you need to know.
What is fast lane hogging?
The fast lane should only be used by drivers overtaking traffic in the slow and medium lanes.
This is common because the speed of trucks is limited to around 90 km/h, while most cars on the highway can reach speeds of up to 110 km/h.
However, once this maneuver is completed, the overtaking car must move back into the left lane.
Delaying this step could result in the driver receiving a fine and points as this falls under careless driving laws.
This means that you are breaking the same law as if you were tailgating or running a red light just because you were not running.
Some drivers stay in the middle and fast lanes for a long time because they don’t know the traffic rules.
Most people drive on the highway largely without the guidance of a driving instructor and therefore may never have known that it is illegal.
Overtaking in the fast lane can be dangerous and frustrating for other road users.
How long can I stay in the fast lane?
According to the Highway Code, Rule 264, you should: “Stay in the left lane unless overtaking.”
“If you overtake, you should return to the left lane if it is safe to do so.”
Some drivers were stopped by police after driving for several miles in the middle lane even though the left lane was clear.
You should not be in the fast lane unless there is slow traffic in both lanes to your left.
If there are several vehicles driving slowly in the left lane and there is enough space between them for you to enter safely, you should do this.
Two distant vehicles should be overtaken in separate maneuvers and not in one long maneuver.
What are the penalties for driving in the fast lane?
If the police believe you have stayed in the middle or fast lane for too long, you may be pulled over.
Since 2013, the police have had the right to stop drivers traveling in the middle lane and immediately issue a fine.
Penalties include a £100 fine, three penalty points and a driver training programme.
The fines can increase dramatically if the driver disputes this in court.
If police believe you are driving carelessly and inattentively, you could be fined up to £5,000.
What should I do if I see a fast lane hogger?
Regardless of how the driver in front of you behaves, you must drive responsibly.
This means maintaining a safe distance between you and the car in front.
According to the Highway Code, your braking distance at 70 miles per hour is 96 meters – about the length of a large football field.
This is how far you should be from the car in front, even if it is driving too slowly for the lane it is in.
For this reason, here are a few rules of conduct that you should not follow when you encounter fast lane eaters.
- Become angry
- Undertake it
- Try to teach them a lesson by chasing after them or cutting them up
Can I use the Fast Lane?
Yes, regular cars are allowed to use all lanes of the highway unless they are towing a trailer.
However, it is a criminal offense to drive in the fast lane with a trailer.
Trucks with a gross vehicle weight of over 7.5 tons are also excluded from the right lane of a motorway, as are most buses.
But you shouldn’t stay in the fast lane any longer than necessary.
Once you have passed the traffic, you should return to the left.