Most UK drivers think traffic is getting worse, with middle-lane hoggers seen as one of the main causes of congestion

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Author: | Updated: 02 Nov 2017 10:14

Findings from the RAC Report on Motoring reveal that more than half of UK drivers believe traffic on major roads has increased.

Around 65% of vehicle miles are driven on motorways, A-roads and high-speed dual carriageways – even though these make up just a 13% portion of the UK road network.

Congestion RAC

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Of the 1,727 drivers asked about traffic levels on these three types of major road, 56% were convinced congestion had worsened.

Driver perceptions of increased traffic levels are backed up by government figures, which estimate 252.6 billion miles were driven in 2016 – a 2.2% increase on the previous year.

Motorways seem to have suffered the hardest, with 61% of respondents claiming journey times had increased on the key highways – which carry 21% of UK traffic despite accounting for just 1% of the network.


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The RAC’s report shows the reasons people offer for increased motorway congestion include major roadworks (47%), middle-lane hogging drivers (45%) and lorries overtaking other lorries (40%).

While the first conviction for middle-lane hogging came in July 2015 many still admit to doing it.

Research by revealed that despite the threat of penalty points and a fine, 32% of drivers admit to hogging the middle lane.

"It was astounding to see just how many hoggers there really are, clogging up the motorway when the left-hand lane was entirely clear.” said Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at

“Middle lanes aren’t for coasting in, because this practice can cause congestion and dangerous manoeuvres from other drivers.”

A14 congestion

In terms of all road types, only country B-roads and unclassified country roads appear to have remained stable in terms of traffic levels – with 58% saying they had stayed the same, and just under a third (32%) insisting they had increased.

These findings won’t be welcome by Highways England, who recently announced that a total of 16 road improvement projects have been delayed – including work on the M3, M60 and A5 – and six face cancellation,

RAC’s chief engineer David Bizley commented: “The RAC urges local authorities to consider all possible measures – including better traffic light sequencing and installing speed cushions for traffic calming in preference to speed humps – to improve urban traffic flow and average speeds.

“While traffic congestion has, not surprisingly, been a source of frustration for drivers over many years, concern rose sharply in 2016 and has remained at the same high level in 2017.”

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