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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 18:41 
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Last weeks Daily Express contained an article written by one of their regualr columnists on the subject of middle lane hogging. It was a slightly naive piece published on the day the HA were supposed to begin utilising motorway signs to remind drivers to move over.
The following letter then appeared....

CORRESDPONDENT A
Driving home on the motorway from Southampton to Broadstairs, I tried not to hog the middle lane.
However, I was constantly having to yo-yo in and out of the middle lane to let in people joining from the slip roads or to overtake slow-moving vehicles. I spent more time looking in my mirros than I did straight ahead and the blind spot was a constant worry.
Let slow-movers and the joiners have the inside lane, the speed limit-breaking maniacs the outside lane and I will continue to have a more stress-free drive in the middle.


This was met with a stinging rebuke from another correspondent...

CORRESPONDENT B
Blah Blah is a prime example of someone who should not be allowed to use Britain's motorways.
[They] seem to think that [they] should be able to join the road, then progress in their own little dream world in the middle lane, oblivious to everything behind [them].
[They] complain of having to look in [their] mirrors. Yes- that is why they are there! I check the mirrors at least every 10 seconds when on a motorway - that way I can see traffic approaching from behind and ensure I don't hold them up.
As for 'yo-yoing' to let people in from junctions - how far apart are the junctions on the M3? I assume that moving lanes every minute or two is far too difficult for [them]. And as for [their] comment about letting the 'speed limit-breaking maniacs' have the ouside lane, [they] show themself to be a typical sheep of our roads, unable to drive with any thought for their surroundings. Obviously another from the 'if it's under the limit it's safe' school of thought.


Now, unless correspondent A is taking the piss, then the individual is quite sincere in their belief that they are right. Equally, correspondent B is utterly convinced A is wrong and shouldn't be permitted to drive on the motorway.
Personally I can visualise A now - I see scores of A type clones each day. They pootle along in their Renault Megane Scenics or Peugot 206s preferring to talk about the latest edition of Heat magazine or Sir Alex's dealings in the transfer market than pay attention to things developing around them. They have a list of labels for people who break the speed limit and an equally long list of convenient excuses for their innatentive driving. They typify the sort of individual for whom sloppy driving has become normal behaviour - and would look at you in utter disbelief if you attempted to point out that they, more than someone breaking the speed limit, posed a greater road safety hazard.
So, how the heck to you begin to tackle this mass 'driving stupor' that increasing numbers seem to have got themselves into?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 19:10 
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Rigpig wrote:
Last weeks Daily Express contained an article written by one of their regualr columnists on the subject of middle lane hogging.... CORRESPONDENT B "I check the mirrors at least every 10 seconds when on a motorway "


... and I can visualise CORRESPONDENT B, stressed out, zooming along in and out of lanes like Jackie Stewart on Speed. That's no model of a good way to drive!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 19:26 
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Nurture.

We have to give drivers encouragement to improve. We have to give them the very best information. Driving information in commercial TV peak slots. We have to stop feeding out lies and oversimplified road safety information. And we have to stop beating ordinary drivers with big sticks.

It won't work overnight, but we can get small and steady improvements.

We're at least a decade behind. We'd better start very very soon.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 19:49 
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SafeSpeed wrote:
Nurture.

We have to give drivers encouragement to improve. We have to give them the very best information. Driving information in commercial TV peak slots.

A further point is that high-profile campaigns like this are likely to get people talking - and thinking - about driving.

Although I know many have doubts about the mobile phone ban, when it was brought in a couple of years ago, it was noticeable how prompted a lot of office discussion on the subject which spilled over into more general questions of what is safe and unsafe on the road.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2004 20:52 
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basingwerk wrote:
Rigpig wrote:
Last weeks Daily Express contained an article written by one of their regualr columnists on the subject of middle lane hogging.... CORRESPONDENT B "I check the mirrors at least every 10 seconds when on a motorway "


... and I can visualise CORRESPONDENT B, stressed out, zooming along in and out of lanes like Jackie Stewart on Speed. That's no model of a good way to drive!


Heh, you know I read that last word as drivel before I realised it was drive ! - thought you'd made a perceptive observation on some of your comments there :wink:
Jackie Stewart on Speed eh? That excuses the behaviour of driver A, a typical 'thumb-up-bum' driver does it?. Ooppss, no, just realised that's your favorite label ain't it, tsk. :?:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 09:54 
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Rigpig wrote:
Heh, you know I read that last word as drivel before I realised it was drive ! - thought you'd made a perceptive observation on some of your comments there :wink:


Yes, I'll remember to put in that space from now on !

Rigpig wrote:
Jackie Stewart on Speed eh? That excuses the behaviour of driver A, a typical 'thumb-up-bum' driver does it?. Ooppss, no, just realised that's your favorite label ain't it, tsk. :?:


Nipping in and out of the inside lane is OK if you are just zooming up a couple of miles of M-Way, but try driving like that for 500 or 1,000 miles. You'd get pretty knackered with all that nervous, jittery driving. For long trips, you get a lot less mentally knackered if you are cruising along, not nipping in and out of lanes every ten seconds.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 11:27 
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basingwerk wrote:
Nipping in and out of the inside lane is OK if you are just zooming up a couple of miles of M-Way, but try driving like that for 500 or 1,000 miles. You'd get pretty knackered with all that nervous, jittery driving. For long trips, you get a lot less mentally knackered if you are cruising along, not nipping in and out of lanes every ten seconds.

Do you really believe this?

Firstly, if you find observing good lane discipline makes you nervous and/or jittery then perhaps you need to consider taking some further driving instruction. Secondly, if you find that you are getting mentally knackered through observing correct lane discipline then the answer is to take a break, not to drift off into a state of semi-conscious "middle lane drifting".

Moving from lane to lane as the requirements of traffic dictate should actually serve to keep you alert and engaged in the process of driving, which hugely reduces the chances of losing concentration and causing an accident. And as far as becoming "mentally knackered" on a long trip is concerned, nothing makes you more tired than boredom, and nothing IMHO makes you more bored than cruising in one lane at a relatively low speed, oblivious to other traffic.

Go and read a driving book or take some advanced instruction. If you learn how to manage your observation and ease the process of making e the correct decisions about lane changes you'll actually find that the process of driving long distances becomes a whole lot less tiring and stressful (and indeed dangerous) once you become actively engaged in what you're doing!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 12:54 
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basingwerk wrote:
Nipping in and out of the inside lane is OK if you are just zooming up a couple of miles of M-Way, but try driving like that for 500 or 1,000 miles. You'd get pretty knackered with all that nervous, jittery driving. For long trips, you get a lot less mentally knackered if you are cruising along, not nipping in and out of lanes every ten seconds.


Sometimes I think you just like the sound of your own typing bas me old mate. :wink:
Notwithstanding the fact that, in the UK, there are few logical routes anyone could travel for 500 miles on a motorway, who in their right mind would drive non-stop for that distance anyhow? You seem to be suggesting that if you are planning your next 1,000 mile road trip (100 times around the M25 perhaps) then it's best to stick to the middle lane in case you get tired.... :roll:
Do you actually engage your brain before bashing out your responses :?:


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 13:36 
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JT wrote:
consider taking some further driving instruction … the answer is to take a break … … Moving from lane to lane as the requirements of traffic dictate… keep you alert and engaged… nothing makes you more tired than boredom, and nothing IMHO makes you more bored than cruising in one lane … Go and read a driving book or take some advanced instruction…. learn how to manage your observation … ease the process of making e the correct decisions …. become actively engaged in what you're doing


Thanks for all those great tips, JT. I have a tip for you - the best way to avoid a ticket is too obey the speed limit!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 13:50 
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Rigpig wrote:
You seem to be suggesting that if you are planning your next 1,000 mile road trip (100 times around the M25 perhaps) then it's best to stick to the middle lane in case you get tired.... :roll:


Of course, you are right. On this piddly island, there are no really long trips. Liverpool to Munich is around 950 miles. It you leave Munich at 4:00 am, you can catch last orders in Liverpool if you don't mess around. Two stops are necessary, one for petrol and a leak around Aachen, and the ferry/chunnel. It's easy in a car, but it is tough on a bike.

Another journey, Calgary to Kelowna BC, is around 600 miles. No need to stop at all on that one, except for a leak somewhere near Golden or Revelstoke. I did it on a weekly basis right through the Canadian winter, several times through the Rogers Pass on top of 2 foot of snow.

Thanks for your concerns about my brain, RigPig.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 13:51 
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basingwerk wrote:
JT wrote:
consider taking some further driving instruction … the answer is to take a break … … Moving from lane to lane as the requirements of traffic dictate… keep you alert and engaged… nothing makes you more tired than boredom, and nothing IMHO makes you more bored than cruising in one lane … Go and read a driving book or take some advanced instruction…. learn how to manage your observation … ease the process of making e the correct decisions …. become actively engaged in what you're doing


Thanks for all those great tips, JT. I have a tip for you - the best way to avoid a ticket is too obey the speed limit!

I'm really scratching my head to try and find any way in which that relates to the thread topic. Is it just your standard fallback soundbite, when you have no logical or relevant argument to offer?

Or is it a reference to my incidental remark about "relatively low speed"?

Either way, please rest assured that I am more than aware of the relationnship between speed limits and speeding tickets, thank you very much. But as a way of linking your apparently random statement back to the thread topic I'll leave you with this conundrum:

Drive "A" is proceeding down a motorway at speeds as dictated by traffic, sometimes under and sometimes over the speed limit. He is constantly observing his surroundings and moving from lane to lane as dictated by his interaction with other traffic, and adjusting his speed according to the road conditions and the amount of space clear in front.

Driver "B" is "relaxing" by cruising up lane 2 at a rock steady indicated 70mph. He believes that he is travelling at exactly the speed limit (though in fact he is probably 5mph below it) so his bloody-minded belief is that no-one should ever have legal cause to pass him. Therefore he feels perfectly justified in ignoring both the congestion behind him and any empty gaps on his left, as he drifts along in his state of torpor.

Which is the safer driver?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 14:20 
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JT wrote:
I'm really scratching my head to try and find any way in which that relates to the thread topic. Is it just your standard fallback soundbite, when you have no logical or relevant argument to offer?


You gave me 10 tips, and I gave you one, so I still owe you 9.

JT wrote:
conundrum:

Driver A is zooming down a motorway as fast as he can, nipping in and out of lanes, trying to get past everybody and pushing his way through, spending quite a lot of time in lane 3 and jamming it up. But he has to do that because he is late for a meeting and he has to get through, and all these slow-pokes are in his way.

Driver B is driving in a relaxed way mostly in lane 2, pulling over into lane 1 when there is a good length of space so that he doesn’t unnecessarily slow down the cars in either lane, and minimising unnecessary lane changes, which are dangerous, especially when he is a little tired, which he is because he has been at work all day and he needs his tea!

Which is the safer driver?


Wait though, that's not what you wrote is it? So here is tip 2 - try to be even-handed.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 14:29 
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basingwerk wrote:
JT wrote:
I'm really scratching my head to try and find any way in which that relates to the thread topic. Is it just your standard fallback soundbite, when you have no logical or relevant argument to offer?


You gave me 10 tips, and I gave you one, so I still owe you 9.

As far as I can see from reading my complete original post I did no such thing. I merely suggested that if you find driving properly to be inordinately taxing then this is pointing up one or more flaws in your technique. You are the one that keeps bleating about following the letter of the law, now you are saying we should ignore the bit about keeping left when not overtaking, on the dubious grounds that it is less taxing to do so than to drive in accordance with the rules.
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JT wrote:
conundrum:

Driver A is zooming down a motorway as fast as he can, nipping in and out of lanes, trying to get past everybody and pushing his way through, spending quite a lot of time in lane 3 and jamming it up. But he has to do that because he is late for a meeting and he has to get through, and all these slow-pokes are in his way.

Driver B is driving in a relaxed way mostly in lane 2, pulling over into lane 1 when there is a good length of space so that he doesn’t unnecessarily slow down the cars in either lane, and minimising unnecessary lane changes, which are dangerous, especially when he is a little tired, which he is because he has been at work all day and he needs his tea!

Which is the safer driver?


Wait though, that's not what you wrote is it? So here is tip 2 - try to be even-handed.

What do you mean by "that's not what you wrote" ? As I said, you strangely introduced speed limits into the debate, and the only conclusion I could reach was that you were somehow trying to imply that your admitted disregard for lane discipline was somehow better then my (alleged by you) disregard for speed limits. I felt a fuller example of the two attitudes at work might serve to show a truer picture of what constitutes safe and unsafe driving. In what way am I not being even-handed?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 15:17 
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JT wrote:
... your admitted disregard for lane discipline ...


Show me where I admit that, or take my third tip - don't make things up!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 15:26 
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basingwerk wrote:
JT wrote:
... your admitted disregard for lane discipline ...


Show me where I admit that...


It was pretty directly implied, when you said...

basingwerk wrote:
Nipping in and out of the inside lane is OK if you are just zooming up a couple of miles of M-Way, but try driving like that for 500 or 1,000 miles. You'd get pretty knackered with all that nervous, jittery driving. For long trips, you get a lot less mentally knackered if you are cruising along, not nipping in and out of lanes every ten seconds.

Now correct me if I have misinterpreted you, but the implication from this seems to be that returning to the inside lane after each overtake (as instructed by the Highway Code) makes you nervous and jittery, so you prefer to sit and cruise in the middle lane instead.

If that's not what you meant then all I can do is offer my apologies, and ask you to explain what you really did mean.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 15:44 
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JT wrote:
... It was pretty directly implied, when you said... the implication from this <is> that returning to the inside lane after each overtake (as instructed by the Highway Code) makes you nervous and jittery, so you prefer to sit and cruise in the middle lane instead.


The Highway code actually says You should drive in the left-hand lane if the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower moving vehicles it may be safer to remain in the centre or outer lanes until the manoeuvre is completed rather than continually changing lanes

So now, I offer my fourth tip - read the Highway Code before you quote from it!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 15:58 
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basingwerk wrote:
JT wrote:
... It was pretty directly implied, when you said... the implication from this <is> that returning to the inside lane after each overtake (as instructed by the Highway Code) makes you nervous and jittery, so you prefer to sit and cruise in the middle lane instead.


The Highway code actually says You should drive in the left-hand lane if the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower moving vehicles it may be safer to remain in the centre or outer lanes until the manoeuvre is completed rather than continually changing lanes

So now, I offer my fourth tip - read the Highway Code before you quote from it!

Very well quoted, albeit partially. The next bit reads...

Return to the left-hand lane once you have overtaken all the vehicles or if you are delaying traffic behind you.

After which is this bit, which is the bit that I originally quoted, assuming that it applied to you...

Slow moving or speed restricted vehicles should always remain in the left-hand lane of the carriageway unless overtaking.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 16:51 
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Very well, but that doesn't add up to me admitting disregard; I hold the highway code in high regard. Let's stop playing around with all these tips and what have you. If the HA tells people to move over, fine and dandy. Some will interpret that differently to those words you quoted, and start nipping in and out every few seconds like annoying flies. Too many lane changes are as dangerous as too few.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 17:22 
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basingwerk wrote:
Very well, but that doesn't add up to me admitting disregard; I hold the highway code in high regard. Let's stop playing around with all these tips and what have you. If the HA tells people to move over, fine and dandy. Some will interpret that differently to those words you quoted, and start nipping in and out every few seconds like annoying flies. Too many lane changes are as dangerous as too few.

Indeed. Finally you make a valid point!

Fortunately, I don't think anyone was advocating making too many lane changes - indeed I can hardly - if at all - remember an occasion when I have seen this in practice, whereas middle lane "hogging" is rampant, which I still say you seem to advise, going by your post in which you say how relaxing it is just to cruise in one lane regardless.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2004 17:42 
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basingwerk wrote:
Another journey, Calgary to Kelowna BC, is around 600 miles. No need to stop at all on that one, except for a leak somewhere near Golden or Revelstoke. I did it on a weekly basis right through the Canadian winter, several times through the Rogers Pass on top of 2 foot of snow.


And your weekly journey in a land most British Middle Lane Daydreamers will never see, let alone make the like of in their entire lives has just what particular relevance?
Unless you are just name-dropping of course :wink:

JT wrote:
Fortunately, I don't think anyone was advocating making too many lane changes - indeed I can hardly - if at all - remember an occasion when I have seen this in practice, whereas middle lane "hogging" is rampant, which I still say you seem to advise, going by your post in which you say how relaxing it is just to cruise in one lane regardless.


Absolutely. It seems that the ISO 9000 standard riposte against accusations of middle lane hogging is to argue at the extreme. Hence, moving corrrectly from lane to lane as traffic dictates becomes "yo-yoing" or "zig-zagging" or "nipping in and out". Nothing beats sexing things up to make the point eh?


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