A new study has revealed that millions of motorway drivers could be potentially putting themselves at risk of landing a £100 and three penalty points.
The data from Direct Line Car Insurance reveals that an average of half (50 per cent) of all vehicles travel in the middle lane and 27 per cent travel in the outside lane.
Over 70 hours of footage was analysed and found that just 23 per cent of motorists travel on the inside lane.
This is a clear flouting of a rule in the Highway Code which states “you should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear” by millions of drivers.
Additional research found that 43 per cent of motorists are driving in the middle lane even when the left lane is clear.
This is called ‘middle lane hogging’ and is a finable offence.
Drivers could be hit with £100 fine and three penalty points if caught, but it is a hard offence to police making a fine unlikely.
Some excuses used by drivers is that they know they will have to overtake lorries further down the motorway (43 per cent) and that they don’t want to change lane as much (33 per cent).
Just half (51 per cent) of Britain’s motorists are aware they could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention for remaining in the middle lane when the inside lane is free.
Rob Miles, director of car insurance at Direct Line, commented: “Our analysis of traffic flows shows that millions of drivers risk prosecution by travelling in the middle and outside lanes when the inside lanes are entirely clear.
“It’s important that we increase awareness of the rules and penalties, primarily because they exist to keep road users safe but also drivers face serious fines and endorsements that that will stay on their record for four years.”
Miles continues: “Many motorists claim they want to avoid changing lanes to overtake, but this is a crucial skill and in-car technologies such as blind spot and safe distance warnings can help drivers to travel safely.
“Academics also believe middle lane hogging can increase congestion, as in moderately busy periods people can be trapped in the left hand lane, unable to overtake slower moving traffic.”