When the news hit this morning that the Feds who patrol Britain’s highways could stop and fine those selfish souls who ‘hog the middle lane’, a collective ‘about bloody time’ was heard in roadside Costa Coffees up and down the country. From here on in, Britain’s beleaguered economy will surge ahead and we’ll all start to feel good about life. Let me be quite clear about this; those who sit in the middle lane for no reason deserve to be fined and persecuted until they’re rendered homeless and too paranoid to drive.
If like me you drive for a living and then drive for fun, then the danger posed and time lost arising from those people – who really shouldn’t have a licence – is quite considerable. These humans are anti-social, selfish, dangerous and mean. Their interest in their immediate environment and of motoring in general is nil.
Since I was a teenager I’ve taken the first safe opportunity to undertake these numb motorists. It was and still is the safest course of action if you’re prepared to tell the world that the law as it stood was an ass. Flashing your lights in a vain attempt to get them to move over is – in my humble opinion- anti-social and should remain the preserve of those in a BMW or Audi.
To me, the close bunching and frustration which is following in the immediate wake of a ‘middle lane hog’ is considerably more dangerous than undertaking. One wrong sneeze and there’ll be a six car shunt involving at least one Insignia and a Sprinter van and 100 buckled yards of Armco. Radio 2’s Sally Traffic will then have to work for a living.
Once the seal of undertaking has been broken, either ‘middle land hog’ will briefly realise the error of their way and move across or failing that, all the others behind them will steal themselves and follow my course of logical, yet illegal action. The problem is over for the time being and I’m then free to get on with life in safety.
However, what if you cannot safely undertake? What if your frantic flashing of main beam isn’t attracting their attention? What if following them so closely that your respective lashing eyes are almost kissing isn’t enough to get these plebs to move across?
Well that happened to me the other week and the law landed on me as a result. Let me explain the situation and you can make up your own mind (provided it agrees with mine).
At around 4.00pm on a weekday afternoon I’m leaving a city centre heading back to my garage which is 10 miles away. In the loadspace of the car I’m driving are two wheels with freshly fitted Toyos. Back in the workshop there is a customer’s car in the air waiting for these two tyres to be fitted. In service reception, the customer is supping tea waiting for the car.
Understandably I’m keen to get back, fit the wheels and take payment for my day’s work. Except there is a gummy-mummy in a minging Picasso who is using the middle lane of the road as a ‘margin of error’. By that I mean she is arguing with one child while pacifying the other some vile dayglo drink. Therefore if she is in the middle lane, there is less chance of her leaving the road through chronic inattention as she has space to drift.
A slow six miles into this display of parenting and driving ineptitude and I’m starting to boil in frustration. At last we leave the series of roundabouts and join a long straight duel carriageway where I hope there will be a undertake opportunity. Sadly there isn’t as the road drags uphill and there are trucks slogging it out there.
Eventually, the minging-mummy clocks a police car doing 69mph and pulls into the nearside lane, without indicating nor checking to see if there was actually space. I’m now sat in the outside lane, exposed to the prowling Fed and my exit is rapidly approaching. Safely snicking into the nearside lane simply ain’t an option.
Doing the decent thing, I drop a cog, speed up and over take the uniformed Sergeant and safely exit the carriage way. I leave to the sight and sound of blues and twos you’ll not be at all surprised to hear. Sergeant has to justify his stripes and it isn’t the innocent mum-on-a-school run that’s being collared for anti-social activities, its this hard-pressed VAT and PAYE tax generator.
What happened when Sergeant strolled over to my now stationary car on the slip road? Well that’s for another blog. Suffice to say that while I strongly feel that there are more than enough laws ruling this land and those who drive on it, this is one law that is desperately needed for the health and wealth of the country.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.