We are doing this post in two parts, as there are two types of queue to discuss
- Slow-moving traffic on single-lane and multi-lane roads e.g. dual carriageways
- Approaching roadworks where traffic is merging to one lane.
If it’s rush hour, and traffic is moving slowly, it’s frustrating! Constant start-stop-start-stop (repeat ad nauseam). By holding back a little from the car in front, you can smooth out all of those start-stops in to a longer movement. Every time you can keep moving, you save a little fuel, reduce your emissions, and lessen your frustration. And you’ll find that the car behind you saves fuel too, all thanks to you.
If you’re on a multi-lane road e.g. a dual carriageway, then you may find that the two lanes are moving slowly but at slightly different speeds. Lane 1 might go faster than lane 2 for a few car-lengths, then lane 2 might move faster than lane 1 for a few car lengths. In these circumstances, it is perfectly acceptable to overtake on the left if you are in lane 1, moving past traffic in lane 2.
As you approach roadworks, you may see signs advising of a lane closure. The most common (but wrong) practice is for motorists to get themselves into the lane which does not close, very early, and stay there. They will then think that anybody passing them, in the lane which is going to close in 800 yards, is “pushing in” or “queue-jumping”. They are not!
Highway code rule 134 actually advises to use both lanes and merge-in-turn when you actually reach the roadworks. This is considered normal practice in all other European countries!
So as you head to the front of the queue, remember that the only reason people are queuing is because they have created a queue unnecessarily!
Sometimes it’s worth remembering a rule number from the highway code, to shout at motorists who think you are in the wrong. Rule 134 is one of those.
(The other one is Rule 170)