Guidance on the correct use of
UK motorways lanes.

Although most drivers already understand how to use British motorways, there do seem to be a number who need guidance.

It's really quite simple - just look at this sign...

  • The lane nearest the central reservation - officially called the Fast Lane.
    This lane is reserved for use by important people and those in a hurry. "Important people" are those who can afford expensive cars (Mercedes E200, Lexus, Jaguar etc) - their time is costly and they can easily afford to pay the fines. "People in a hurry" are generally easy to spot as they usually drive red cars with defective headlight switches.

    If you don't fit into either of these two categories - or are not prepared to keep above the 90mph minimum speed - expect to find the rightful occupants of this lane VERY close to your boot with their lights on!!!

  • The next lane out from the central reservation is usually called the Middle Lane (even when it isn't strictly in the middle).
    This is the normal driving lane for most people - aim to get into this lane as soon as possible and stay there for the duration of your journey.

  • The third (usually left-most lane) is often called the Slow Lane.
    This lane is only ever used by big slow lorries, pensioners and the insane, due to the embarrassment.

    The real problem with the Slow Lane is that most motorway junctions require you to join via this lane. You should aim to change to the Middle Lane (or if your status allows , the Fast Lane) as soon as possible. Don't worry about affecting other drivers during this manouvre - they expect it of you.

  • Motorways sometimes have a Fourth Lane, way over on the left hand side.
    This lane doesn't have a name because pretty well nobody uses it (unless they are leaving at the next exit). You should ignore this lane entirely.

  • The Hard Shoulder or Emergency Lane
    This lane is reserved for emergencies, such as needing to keep above 40mph in traffic jams or stopping for a pee between service stations. Note that it is NOT acceptable to park on the hard shoulder to make or receive mobile phone calls - just keep driving like everyone else!