Posts Tagged ‘motorway’

I am a middle lane driver

Thursday, January 21st, 2016 | Thoughts


Recently the police have started cracking down on middle lane drivers. This is a great news. They not only slow traffic down, but make it more dangerous for everyone on the road. Where is the evidence for this? That’s less clear. There doesn’t seem to be any direct evidence. However, there is research to suggest it causes congestion, which in itself makes roads more dangerous.

The problem is though, have you tried not being a middle lane driver when everyone around you is?

If you are stuck in a crowd of middle lane drivers, and you are most of the time you are driving on motorways these days, you have two options. The first is to go to the outside lane. This is a tactic that serves people well. You accelerate up to 80-90mph, cruise past all the middle-laners and keep up with the speeding car in front of you to ensure you are not holding anyone up.

But what if you do not want to drive at an illegal speed? This is a growing concern for me, not just as I get older and more sensible, but also with the increased of managed motorways with speed cameras everywhere.

The alternative is to pull in to the inner lane. This is fraught with difficulties also though. You have your middle lane driver, not overtaking anyone, doing 65mph in the middle lane. Then you approach a truck. It’s doing 55mph. You could pull out again, but typically someone else will have closed up behind the slow middle lane driver, trapping you in the inside lane and forcing you to slam on to 55mph and sit behind the truck.

This is not fair on you, the conscientious Highway-Code-following driver. It pisses me off. In fact it has pissed me off so many times I have stopped doing it.

Now, if someone is doing 65mph in the middle lane, I just sit behind them. I don’t overtake them because I don’t want to speed, and I don’t pull in because then the other drivers behind me will close the gap on the slow driver and I will be boxed in. The only safe thing I can do is to remain in the middle lane, sitting behind the other car.

Technically, you could argue that probably makes me a middle lane driver. But what else is one to do?

I would argue that technically it doesn’t, because I am trying to overtake the slow driver in front. I am just waiting for them to pull in, as they are legally obliged to do, so that I can overtake them.

This is an important demonstration of morality though. People follow laws when they see other people following laws. The reason that people will no ‘go green’ is because they do not want to sacrifice their quality of life if the people around them are not making similar sacrifices. They feel it is unfair – probably because it is unfair. Whereas if everyone did it, we could save the planet and nobody would feel cheated.

Similarly, if you are middle lane driver, you start a chain of other people being forced to drive badly behind you. Whereas if everyone pulled in, people would not be forced to decide whether to risk pulling in and getting trapped, or speeding, and so could pull in also. And everyone would live happily ever after…

Madness in the Fast Lane

Sunday, August 31st, 2014 | Distractions

Madness in the Fast Lane is a BBC documentary that Louis Theroux recommended. It tells the take of two Swedish sisters that one day ran across the M6, repeatedly getting struck my vehicles. One of the sisters then went on stab a man to death.

The style was very odd as it reminded me a lot of Brass Eye. There were lots of unnecessary caption slides, weird music and blurry camera effects. It felt rather cheesy. But the story was certainly an interesting one. It was just mad (literally, according to the court psychologists).

Without a satisfying conclusion to the story though (there has not been one in real life), all we can really take away from it is that Swedish people are crazy.