Tips from the experts: using a motorway properly


It's one of the most annoying things about, about life itself. Poor lane discipline is the scourge of the British motorway.

Anyone that knows how to drive properly and has spent a modicum of time on a motorway will recognise that they're awash with middle- and outside lane hoggers (there's no such thing as a 'fast lane'), tailgaters, rubberneckers, brake tappers and, well, drivers that appear completely oblivious to the space around their own car. It's frightening.

Not only do these habits make life massively irritating for those that actually know how to use the roads, they also contribute to traffic congestion and accidents.

Thankfully, in the latest installment in the IAM's Drive and Survive series, called 'Stay in Lane', Simon Elstow explains how you can avoid being part of the problem:

Use all of your mirrors regularly, as well as before making any manoeuvre or lane change.

Signal early to give other road users time to react – many will be happy to let you out if given warning.

Change lanes gradually. Don't expect or force other drivers to move out of your way.

Don't compromise your safe following distance when changing lanes. Always look out for other cars aiming to move into the same space as you from another lane.

Read the overhead gantry signs – they give useful information and can help you decide which lane to use.

The Highway Code says that the middle lane and right hand lanes are for overtaking only. Driving continuously in the middle lane means other drivers slow down while waiting to overtake, causing congestion. Always move back to the left hand lane when you can.

Follow this advice and you'll not only be contributing to a safer, happier, cheaper journey for you and everyone else, you'll be helping ease the recession: traffic congestion costs the UK economy an estimated £7bn every year.