Saturday 17 March 2018

Hogging the headlines - how those lane louts are driving us crazy

Drivers hogging the outside and middle lanes on Irish motorways is one of the top factors that angers other motorists
Drivers hogging the outside and middle lanes on Irish motorways is one of the top factors that angers other motorists

We are a nation of outside-lane hoggers if the outpouring of anger and frustration in your emails and tweets are anything to go by. I've chosen just a handful. Thanks for the response and sorry we can't acknowledge all.

Eddie, I agree entirely with your comments on lane-hogging. In my experience this occurs mainly on the M50 and, at the risk of being accused of being sexist, it involves female drivers in the main.

On regular occasions, drivers will slow down or jab the brakes when traffic builds up behind them.

When eventually they move in, the driver will give the old middle finger salute.

My instinct is that they feel intimidated when being passed on both sides, so they hog the outside lane to minimise the requirement to concentrate - and sod the other drivers.

This of course leads to following drivers undertaking, resulting in conflict between other drivers also switching lanes.

This is a scenario that occurs every day on the M50. In summer months, tourists are a major source of lane-hogging problems, particularly outside Dublin.

Is this because they think they are still in their own country?

In France, motorway driving is disciplined and civilised. Irish drivers would do well to follow suit.

(Name with Eddie).

Eddie, About eight weeks ago, travelling south on N11 at Kilmacanogue, a silver car remained on the overtaking lane ahead of us and caused build-up of traffic. The result was that the cars started passing it on the left lane.

When we got near, it was clear the person driving was texting with phone placed on steering wheel. It was a male driver of about 30.

(Name with Eddie)

Eddie, I totally agree with what you wrote last week on lane hoggers. The M50 is a classic example.

Every time I travel it, which could be numerous times a day, if I stay in the inside lane doing 100kmh - the limit - I am constantly technically breaking the law by "under passing" a moron or morons, blithely unaware of what they are doing.

I am delighted to read your article, and can't understand why this is being ignored by gardai, media and the rest. John

Eddie, I thank you for bringing this issue to the fore as it's something that has been irritating me since I started motorway driving in 2010.

There is no education in the Theory Test on correct lane usage, and since there is no motorway driving on the practical test, drivers are simply not informed.

In 2010 the M50 was made into three lanes in both directions, which would have been the perfect opportunity to educate drivers on which lane is for normal driving through nationwide campaigns which could also be applied to two lane highways.

In February of this year the National Roads Authority proposed reducing the speed limit on the M50 during rush hour to ease congestion.

The issue, they say, is that when one car brakes, the car behind must brake harder, and so on, creating an 'accordion' effect. How reducing speed limits will prevent this is beyond me. Congestion could be reduced if people used lanes correctly.

The gardaí just need to show up on the motorways to catch people hogging lanes. I'm not sure I would go as far as issue massive fines like you referred to from the UK, but many small fines will get people talking. If someone gets an €80 fine and they didn't know the system, I'm sure they'd educate themselves.

Sean Craddock

Indo Motoring

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