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Research shows that a third of motorists on highways drive in the middle lane

Almost a third of motorists admit to driving in the center lane on motorways, a National Highways survey has found.

Nearly 32 percent of respondents said they do this at least “occasionally,” including 5 percent who admitted to doing so “always.”

The Highway Code requires motorists on highways and expressways to use the left lane unless they are overtaking.

Almost a third of motorists admit to driving in the center lane on motorways, a National Highways survey has found (stock image)

And while it warns motorists to ‘leave at least two seconds between you and the vehicle in front on high-speed roads’, more than a fifth (23 percent) admit to tailgating.

Both offenses can be prosecuted as careless driving, for which police can issue on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points.

Sheena Haag from National Highways said: ‘Bad habits can make driving on our highways a challenging experience, as those who drive through the lane or tailgate frustrate other drivers and make them feel unsafe. Both are dangerous and can cause accidents.

‘The message is simple: always ensure there is sufficient space between you and the vehicle in front, and stay in the left lane unless you are overtaking.’

The Highway Code states that motorists on highways and expressways must use the left lane unless overtaking (stock image)

The Highway Code states that motorists on highways and expressways must use the left lane unless overtaking (stock image)

Figures from the Department for Transport show that in the ten years to the end of 2022, 198 people were killed and a further 6,730 seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads, with a vehicle ‘following too closely’ being a contributing factor.

National Highways has launched a campaign with the slogan ‘small changes, change everything’, warning of the impact of hogging and tailgating in the middle lane.

The government agency said poor lane discipline is among the behaviors likely to leave other road users feeling frustrated, while tailgating often makes people anxious, stressed or unsafe.

RAC road safety spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘Centre lane keeping and tailgating are much more than just an annoyance to motorists – these actions put everyone on the road at risk.

‘Following another motorist closely can easily lead to a serious collision if the vehicle in front has to brake sharply for any reason.

‘The fact that almost one in four drivers surveyed admit this on some of England’s fastest and busiest roads is frightening.’