Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lane discipline

My recent trip back to the UK highlighted another foible of the British sensibilities when driving - terrible lane discipline. Technically, you're not allowed to overtake on the inside, but the problem is that people sit in the middle lane even when the inside lane is empty. By doing this, they reduce the carrying capacity of the motorway in that area to 30% or less as everyone queues up behind them trying to get into the outside lane to go past. It was like this up until 2001 when I left the UK and it's been like this every time I go back. At least here in America we're able to overtake on both sides without fear of recrimination. I don't know why that option has never been allowed in England - it would solve the irritation created by centre lane owner-occupiers for good.

4 comments:

Silas said...

Allowing overtaking on the inside would mean they'd have to give up the pretense that the middle lane is an overtaking lane. Of course, it hasn't been for quite some time, but admitting that is another matter altogether.

Which reminds me. I really ought to polish up my "Lane discipline for Americans" document, which is somewhat akin to the infamous teatowel explanation of cricket...

Stuart said...

Whilst this wouldn't be recommended as per the highway code, a good honk of the horn when you're, say, 4 seconds behind the middle-lane hog can often do the trick. Most times, it's somebody who's been driving a while and is starting to lose concentration a little. The honk will bring their concentration level back up and potentially encourage them to take a break...

I'm not in favour of left-side overtaking ("undertaking" in UK-English) as it would massively increase frequency of crashes due to lane changing. UK drivers are /very/ bad at checking mirrors etc, as it is...

Silas said...

Lane discipline:

You'll come onto the motorway in the inside lane, which is the lane on the outside of the motorway. You should stay out there in the inside lane unless you're overtaking, in which case you need to move to the middle lane, which isn't in the middle. If the middle lane is full and you still need to overtake, you'll need to move to the outside lane, on the inside, which is of course in the middle. Once you're past the other drivers, you should move back out to the inside lane as soon as possible.

Mystery Girl said...

overtaking on both sides in UK wouldn't be such a great idea. Imagine two sales reps who decide to overtake the same car at the same time. UK drivers deserve some credit here - at least you can work out what they are about to do even without indicators. Utah drivers have no idea of they're next move is going to be e-ver.