It was great PR for the police, back in August last year when they announced they’d be cracking down on lane hoggers with fixed penalty notices.
“About time!” we said. “The police are going to do something other than target speeders.”
But now, we’ve discovered that out of six police forces that cover the M25, only two have fined any lane hoggers. And out of those two, they’ve only fined 13 between them. That’s compared to thousands of speeding fines.
Are we surprised? Well, no, not really. It’d be a difficult thing to work out stats for, but anyone who travels on the M25 regularly will probably agree that lane discipline on Britain’s busiest motorway is pretty awful. And fining people for lane hogging is much more difficult than sticking up a camera and raking in the cash. But let’s not turn this into an anti-police rant.
Why do people lane hog? I reckon it’s a combination of not knowing better and downright laziness. Why move over to the inside lane when you’ll have to move back out in 30 seconds time to overtake a lorry?
There’s also the fact that legally, no training is required for motorway driving. You pass your test and then you can drive on our fastest roads with nothing more than any knowledge gleaned from your theory test. Drivers have never been taught any better and, although we hoped the media coverage surrounding lane hogging would educate a few, it seems to have been mostly forgotten about.
But anyway, trying to get in the mind of tailgaters will do nothing but make me angry. It’s pointless getting wound up by them, which is why I like to take part in a little game I call “lane hogger orbiting”.
We’ve all been there, when you’re driving along in the inside lane at a comfortable 70mph (officer) and stumble across a car sat in the middle lane. You’ve got two options: stay where you are and cruise past them on the inside lane (but that’d be naughty), or move over to the outside lane to overtake before moving back to the inside lane as fast as possible to make a point to Mr Hogger.
I go for the latter, but then I go a step further. I slow down, and let Mr Hogger overtake me. And then I pull out to the outside lane and do the same again. And keep on going until one of three things happens:
1) We catch up with a lorry and my fun is ruined.
2) Mr Hogger wonders why on earth he is being orbited by a little silver Mazda and moves over.
3) Mr Hogger is pulled over and fined by a convenient police officer.
Oh, wait, no, number three never happens. But I suggest that, rather than getting wound up by lane hoggers, we all have a play at this game. Motorway journeys can be tedious and it’d be a great way of dealing with lane hoggers. And if you get quizzed by a traffic officer on why you were driving erratically, tell them I said to go and fine some lane hoggers.
Or alternatively, sign this petition for harsher penalties on middle lane morons…