Lane discipline

MotorwayThe normal rule is to use the left-hand lane unless you are overtaking, however, keep a look out for road signs and markings; sometimes (especially in places where motorways merge) the left-hand lane might lead away from your intended destination.

Allow plenty of time for your actions on the motorway. Consider every move carefully making the fullest use of your mirrors and giving other drivers plenty of time to see your signals before starting any manoeuvre.

Allow plenty of time for your actions means managing the speed and space around your vehicle. One of the best ways to do this is to use the 'two second rule'. You can find out about the 'two second rule' and other ways to manage space by clicking here.

Some motorways have road markings to help you determine a safe following distance. Sometimes, two chevrons distance seems very long - but whether you believe it or not, that's the kind of distance you need to stop in a sudden emergency.


As mentioned above, the basic rule for lane use is 'drive in the left-hand lane unless you are overtaking'. It's amazing that such as simple rule seems to be misunderstood by so many drivers! Can it be so difficult?

They could be various reasons for people not sticking to the rules:

  • Maybe it's that they are just lazy and it's just too much trouble to look in the mirror and move the
    steering wheel a quarter of an inch
  • Or it could be that there just too damn scared - "I'm in this lane and I'm in a straight line and
    I'm staying here!"
  • Perhaps. The speed limit is 70 and so no one can pass me anyway - I'm being a good citizen
    by holding up other drivers.

Whatever the reasons others have for driving dangerously, it makes good sense to adopt good lane discipline. By sticking to the rules you will help the traffic flow and reduced accident risks by lowering frustration levels.

Just because you think 70mph is fast enough for anyone, it doesn't mean that the driver of the sports car behind will think the same thing… just let him go - at least that way you won't be involved in his accident!

Keep your DistanceAnother reason for good lane discipline is to help truck drivers. When you are sitting in the middle lane at 45mph going up a slight incline it's hardly surprising that the truck driver behind gets frustrated.

Trucks take much longer to build up their speed and need to maintain the momentum to climb even the slightest inclines; they're not allowed to use the right-hand lane (lane-three) and so cannot overtake you. Added to this, they're probably working to some impossible deadline!

Bus drivers and vehicle towing trailers (that includes your boat trailer or camping trailer!) are also prohibited from using lane-three. Be aware however, that there are some very large vans that fall just under the weight limit. These vans are permitted to use lane three and could pull out in front of you unexpectedly'.