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Driving in Slow-Moving Traffic

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 21 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Slow-moving Traffic Driving In

Driving in slow-moving traffic can be extremely frustrating, and it is tempting to dip in and out of lanes to try to get to your destination more quickly. Doing this can be distracting and inconvenient to other drivers, and is considered pretty bad form. There is also no guarantee that it will take any time off your journey.

Stay Close

Stay close to the vehicle in front to keep the queue of traffic to a minimum, but do not stay too close. You need to leave some room so that you can safely allow a police car, fire engine or ambulance pass without compromising either yourself or other drivers.

Don't Change Lanes all the Time

Do not change lanes just to try to skip the queues. You may escape the back up in the line that you have just left, but you will then be backing up traffic in the line that you have just entered. As well as serving no real purpose, this will annoy drivers in the lane that you have switched into.

Change lanes only if you need to be in a certain lane to make a right or left turn, or to leave the road on a turn-off.

Do not block side roads just to get closer to the car in front as this can back up traffic on the other side of the road, if a car is waiting to turn in and is unable to do so.

On a motorway or dual carriageway, move into the right-hand lane (or the central lane too if it is a three-lane dual carriageway) if you need to get past slow-moving vehicles. If you are overtaking several slow-moving vehicles in a short space of time, do not move back into the left-hand lane until you have overtaken all of these vehicles, as moving in and out of different lane is distracting and dangerous for other drivers.

However, if none of the lanes of traffic are moving much, you should stay in your lane, even if the other lanes start to move. Your lane will usually pick up too. If it doesn't pick up after being at a standstill (or near enough) for a considerable amount of time, you may want to move into a different lane, especially if other lanes are starting to move. Make sure that the lane you move into isn't one in which all vehicles in it will be turning off if you aren't. Moving into one lane and back into another can be considered bad form.

Be aware that moving into another lane won't necessarily make your journey any faster. It's not always convenient or safe to switch lanes, so you have to wait to get into the other lane. Be prepared for the frustration of finding that whichever lane you're not in is the one that suddenly starts moving!

Driving a Slow-Moving Vehicle

If you are driving a slow-moving vehicle, you should stick to the left-hand lane unless you are overtaking another vehicle.

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