UK Motorway limit to be 80mph

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Profile John Clark
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Message 1159088 - Posted: 5 Oct 2011, 15:12:09 UTC - in response to Message 1159083.  

Unless things have changed dramatically in the past 12 years, I believe the comment that on UK Motorways there is never a time when the road ahead is clear, is perhaps, a bit of a sweeping generalization.



When it comes to the weight of traffic on UK dual carriage ways and motor ways, unless the area is remote and rural (deepest Wales and Scotland), Chris's statement is correct ... there is no such thing as an empty road ahead in the UK. The exception is very late at night/early the following morning when all good bodies, except HGVs, are tucked in bed and asleep.

Don't forget we have over 35 million cars, several million vans (white van man) and 1 million HGVs registered and running on roads in a land area approximately the same as Florida.

You need to drive here to really appreciate the weight of road traffic at all times of the day, and not just the rush couple of hours at the beginning and end of a working day.

I am lucky as I live in a rural area and can choose routes to avoid a crowded A1.
It's good to be back amongst friends and colleagues



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Message 1159115 - Posted: 5 Oct 2011, 16:08:53 UTC - in response to Message 1159088.  

Unless things have changed dramatically in the past 12 years, I believe the comment that on UK Motorways there is never a time when the road ahead is clear, is perhaps, a bit of a sweeping generalization.



When it comes to the weight of traffic on UK dual carriage ways and motor ways, unless the area is remote and rural (deepest Wales and Scotland), Chris's statement is correct ... there is no such thing as an empty road ahead in the UK. The exception is very late at night/early the following morning when all good bodies, except HGVs, are tucked in bed and asleep.

Don't forget we have over 35 million cars, several million vans (white van man) and 1 million HGVs registered and running on roads in a land area approximately the same as Florida.

You need to drive here to really appreciate the weight of road traffic at all times of the day, and not just the rush couple of hours at the beginning and end of a working day.

I am lucky as I live in a rural area and can choose routes to avoid a crowded A1.


I took a look at a web camera pointing at the M20 in Kent. 4:31 p.m. and to my eyes it looked like there were occasions where road users could have safely used the left lane but chose to use the middle. This:



is from junction 8 of the M20, the right hand side is westbound. While it is not empty, I would not characterize traffic in either direction as heavy. It seems to me the reason for eastbound traffic in the right hand lane is the result of incorrect lane disciple of those drivers in the middle lane.

Given enough time I doubt I'd have much trouble finding similar images from across England.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159131 - Posted: 5 Oct 2011, 16:37:02 UTC
Last modified: 5 Oct 2011, 16:38:16 UTC

I believe it is your opinion that the code is totally out of date, mine differs. Constantly switching between lanes could suggest that a return to the left lane has been made too early, the code says that "If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past". Vehicles staying in the middle lane when it is safe to return to the left can result in vehicles behind being forced to take to the right hand lane to overtake, and it may be less safe for these drivers to move right than it is for the vehicle in the middle to move left.

The Highway Code includes a section on road signs, included in this are signs relating to minimum speed limits (numerals in white on a blue background). A post to this forum states that minimum speed limits are displayed near the Dartford Tunnel. IIRC there are other examples of this sign on display in the UK.


The answer to all this is quite clear, if we force everyone to keep to the motorway speed limit, no going faster or slower than, then there will be no need to have to overtake. If we achieve this then we will have no need for, on a three lane motorway, the middle and outside lane. These two lanes then could be uprooted and the ground set to grass again. The whole idea of having our motorways was to permit us to carry higher volumes of traffic more efficiently over longer distances and at a faster pace too. But what we could do is to retain the other two motorway lanes and insist on traffic only using them for overtaking. So as to make overtaking safer for all we will also insist that all vehicles on the inside lane keep a minimum distance away from the vehicle in front. This minimum distance being equal to the standard prescribed distance that factors in the vehicles speed but also that same distance added again so when a vehicle overtakes you he can pull back in ahead of you at the standard prescribed distance first. Of course the problem with this is that the line of vehicles now occupying the inside lane would mean that whereas travelling from London to Cumbria would take around four hours, it would now take the whole day because of the time spent lining up to get onto the motorway hence be able to join this inside lane in the first instant.
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Message 1159162 - Posted: 5 Oct 2011, 18:39:46 UTC

Ooooohhhhh traffic cameras.

What lane should they be in?


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Message 1159525 - Posted: 6 Oct 2011, 20:08:15 UTC - in response to Message 1159162.  

Ooooohhhhh traffic cameras.

What lane should they be in?


I wouldn't like to be in that traffic, though I don't see anything jumping out as an indicator of poor lane discipline. Contrast it with the following, from an M25 camera between Junctions 5 and 6, again in Kent (the BBC site says "The carriageway closest to the camera is Anticlockwise"):



Anticlockwise left lane looks pretty clear to my eyes, middle and right, not so much, picture taken at 8:26 p.m local time.

For those that do not know, the M25 forms a ring around London. Is 8:26 p.m. "very late at night/early the following morning"? Does the M25 count as "remote and rural (deepest Wales and Scotland)"?
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159545 - Posted: 6 Oct 2011, 20:53:08 UTC - in response to Message 1159541.  
Last modified: 6 Oct 2011, 20:58:12 UTC

For those that do not know, the M25 forms a ring around London. Is 8:26 p.m. "very late at night/early the following morning"? Does the M25 count as "remote and rural (deepest Wales and Scotland)"?


The M25 1s 117 miles long and is approximately 12-20 miles from London. 1/3 of it is 4 lanes in each direction, and the rest is 3 lanes, with some shorter 5 and 6 lane sections near Heathrow. The most busiest part is the Southwest quadrant from Reigate to past Heathrow airport, with junctions to the A3, M3, M4 and M40. Most of my driving is done around this part.

Kent is usually the quietest part, particularly at 8:30pm at night which is well past the rush hour. The M25 was built from the early 1970's and finished in 1986. M25

The whole point of the M25 was to upgrade the existing North and South Circular roads, and replace the proposed London Ringways. The biggest problem with the M25, particularly the SW quadrant is that people hop on and off it using it as a local bypass to commute to and from work. Therefore at those times there is a high proportion of non-professional drivers behaving like idiots.

The M25 would be classed as urban and suburban, definitely not rural. Rural is defined as any local government area with less than 26% of its population living in a market town, which doesn't cover the route of the M25.

I suggest you monitor some webcams around the Heathrow area for a more realistic view of M25 daily life.


Getting a little late now, 9:49 p.m., here's M25 at Junction 14 ("The off-slip separated from the carriageway by a grass verge is next to the anticlockwise carriageway"):



Junction 14 is an access to Heathrow. (The wikipedia entry says "M25 around London: 196,000 vehicles a day recorded in 2003 between junctions 13 and 14 near London Heathrow Airport.")

And another also from near Junction 14 ("The carriageway closest to the camera is Anticlockwise"):


I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159563 - Posted: 6 Oct 2011, 21:48:03 UTC - in response to Message 1159549.  

Getting a little late now, 9:49 p.m.,


Well exactly, try it tomorow during the day ..... I've no idea why you are so hell bent on trying to prove me wrong, I've driven more miles on the M25 than you've had hot dinners. From my experience I can assure you that raising the speed from 70 to 80 is a bad idea. If you're not prepared to accept my word for that, then there's nothing more I can say.

As I said before this is a discussion forum, I'm not on trial in court, I don't have to prove my case. I can simply state my opinion and you can disagree if you wish. Time will tell whether I'm right or wrong.


I don't need to try it tomorrow, you said "There is no time, at any time, that a UK Motorway has a clear road ahead.". I suggested this was "perhaps, a bit of a sweeping generalization", John said your assessment was correct (though added some caveats about hour and location). The comment about roads being clear came about as a result of your saying the Highway Code supported your recommendation to drive in the middle lane, "According to the highway code on a 3 lane motorway [...] the middle lane is where you should be".

Chris, I am not interested in proving you wrong, I am interested in facts being checked. If your earlier comment was "opinion", my apologies, to me it does not read that way, to me it reads as a categorical statement of fact, and the context (a discussion on the validity of the Highway Code's rules on lane discipline), did not suggest to me that it was opinion. I have no issue with you expressing your opinion.

When statements, such as "no time, at any time" and "the middle lane is where you should be", are shown to be wrong, the usual thing to do in a forum is acknowledge the errors and move on. Talking about "hot dinners" is unlikely to help the flow of a thread, though as it's your thread ...
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159584 - Posted: 6 Oct 2011, 23:13:31 UTC

Bobby: Photo is from around 10:45 AM IIRC, so it is past rush hour. I drove that stretch in rush hour for several years. I agree I didn't like being in that traffic.

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Message 1159814 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 16:38:02 UTC - in response to Message 1159735.  

you said "There is no time, at any time, that a UK Motorway has a clear road ahead.". I suggested this was "perhaps, a bit of a sweeping generalization",

If it makes you happier I'll amend it to "There is no time, at any time that I have driven on a UK Motorway, that there has been a clear road ahead."


My happiness, or lack thereof, is irrelevant; my criticisms are intended to focus attention on writing what is meant and meaning what is written, to help avoid confusion. I'd suggest that your amended comment is different in nature to the original, and that your experiences may not be typical. It may be typical of drivers of very heavily used sections of the UK Motorway system, though I'd still suggest it's perhaps a bit of a sweeping generalization, and that's it's possible that some are remembering bad times. As there is no independent record of your driving experiences that I am aware of, it's impossible for me to verify it, though if true, it is likely worthy of study, you could well be a relative of Rob McKenna ;-).

Here's the M25 between Junction 14 (Heathrow) and 15 (M4) at 1:42 p.m. local time ("The carriageway closest to the camera is Anticlockwise"):



While not completely clear, I'd say the left lane of the anticlockwise carriageway is sufficiently clear for some traffic to move into it.

Lane discipline 264

You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.

This is correct.

"According to the highway code on a 3 lane motorway [...] the middle lane is where you should be".

That is also correct if there is a continuous heavy amount of traffic in the slow lane. It is not considered helpful to continually be swopping lanes. If I drove on an empty Motorway I would be in the LH lane, but I never have that luxury as my driving is during the day.


Continually swapping lanes is unlikely to be a safe thing to do, and the Highway Code suggests that a return to the left hand lane should be undertaken when it is safe to do so. It has been my driving experience, both in the UK and the US, that drivers do not always return to the left (in the US, right) lanes when it is safe. I believe the images I have posted from cameras support this view of some drivers in the UK. Indeed, while being careful to note the anecdotal nature of the observation, it has been my experience that some drivers move to the middle line on entry to a motorway or interstate regardless of the prevailing road conditions, and, without the caveat of "continuous heavy amount of traffic" (which I do not believe was implicit in your original comment), this appeared to be what you were suggesting the Highway Code supported and what Iona should, as a result, do.

Talking about "hot dinners" is unlikely to help the flow of a thread, though as it's your thread ...

Seemed approriate to me at the time. I'd be more than happy to change the authorship to you if the Mods can arrange it. To be quite frank, I've lost interest in this now, you can have it if you want it. But I will refuse to close it as others may wish to comment.


The "hot dinners" comment, appeared to me to be an appeal to authority, if this was not its intent, then my apologies. I have no desire to be the "author" of this thread, nor do I have a desire for you to close it.

OK folks, we have new rules in the Politics forum. You are not allowed to give an opinion unless you clearly state beforehand it is nothing more than an opinion. You are not allowed to make any statement unless you are prepared to back it up with cast iron irrefutable evidence, as it will be very carefully scrutinised.

Before a mod steps in and asks people to play nicely, there is no need, I'm not playing anymore. I'm not taking my ball home though, I'll happily leave it for others to kick about.


I will continue to strive to abide by the rules provided by the mods, and those declared in OPs of threads. I do not see the need for the rule changes you propose. Statements of fact will be subject to verification no matter where they are made, or who makes them; a wiser man than me once said "trust, but verify". Another wiser man than me once said "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", and the original "no time, at any time" comment (and John's "deepest Wales/Scotland" defense of it) appeared to me to be an extraordinary claim.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159817 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 16:48:58 UTC - in response to Message 1159814.  

Here's the M25 between Junction 14 (Heathrow) and 15 (M4) at 1:42 p.m. local time ("The carriageway closest to the camera is Anticlockwise"):



While not completely clear, I'd say the left lane of the anticlockwise carriageway is sufficiently clear for some traffic to move into it.


Not the best example to use here Bob. The three inner lanes shown are converging with the three existing lanes on the M25 as shown by that solid thick white line coming from the bottom righthand corner of the photo. Also are there lane direction signs in operation along here keeping you to a particular lane because a divergence occurs further ahead. They have this along the M25 after junction 10 right up to junction 16.

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Message 1159839 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 17:37:33 UTC - in response to Message 1159817.  
Last modified: 7 Oct 2011, 17:38:11 UTC

Not the best example to use here Bob. The three inner lanes shown are converging with the three existing lanes on the M25 as shown by that solid thick white line coming from the bottom righthand corner of the photo. Also are there lane direction signs in operation along here keeping you to a particular lane because a divergence occurs further ahead. They have this along the M25 after junction 10 right up to junction 16.



All true, though from the image alone it seems to me that both white vans in the foreground on the anticlockwise carriageway could safely move left, as could the car some way in front of the rightmost of these white vans. It could be that the leftmost of these white vans is gradually moving over to the right in preparation for the divergence ahead, which may be appropriate. Even with the caveats you provide, I still believe it does, to some extent, support my comment that "drivers do not always return to the left lanes when it is safe".
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159858 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 18:04:31 UTC - in response to Message 1157451.  

The speed limit on most major freeways here in the US is about 65mph, with most drivers doing about 80mph, and the limit seems to be selectively enforced by state police.

Our Federal Government can only set speed limits on federally-funded highways, all other limits are set at the state level.


Personally, I think they should raise the speed limit to 90mph on federal highways. Most multi-lane highways have signs that say "Slower traffic keep right" meaning those old Ford Fiestas can stay to the right and out of the way. Traffic on the right isn't expected to go over 45-55mph.

Raising it to 90 would not be something I would like to see. There are enough people out there that take our current 65mph limit and push well over 75. Considering that drivers who may be driving at 45~60 tend to ignore the "keep to right" suggestion the higher speeds can result in more rear-end collisions.

It is simply a fact that drivers, unless they are well experienced in driving where you have high closing rates on cars you are overtaking will misjudge the open distance ahead.

There is a second issue. When you have been driving at high speeds for some period of time you fail to realize just how fast you are going. Exiting the roadway and approaching the end of the exit ramp can make for accidents.

If you look at high speed motorways in Europe the exit ramps, unlike many in the United States, do not end with a stop sign or traffic light. They merge into the cross road traffic. Here is the U.S. all to many end with a stop sign which after an hour or so of high speed driving is hard to judge.

I have driven motorcycle across northern Nevada (Rt. 50) which, while two-lane, is nearly straight as a die. Traffic is almost non-existant and, after running for some distance/time at 125mph speeds, you can have a real problem judging a proper speed when entering a town or even stopping for gasoline.

Now, if we were to build some high-speed roads of a class of the German Autobahn, and require drivers to undergo additional qualification to drive these roads in te high speed lanes, then I would have no problem. The current Interstate Highway System simply isn't of a quality that will support much higher speeds. Parts of it are falling apart due to the heavy truck traffic because the underlayment is only about half the depth of what the Autobahn is.

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Message 1159864 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 18:10:54 UTC - in response to Message 1159858.  

The speed limit on most major freeways here in the US is about 65mph, with most drivers doing about 80mph, and the limit seems to be selectively enforced by state police.

Our Federal Government can only set speed limits on federally-funded highways, all other limits are set at the state level.


Personally, I think they should raise the speed limit to 90mph on federal highways. Most multi-lane highways have signs that say "Slower traffic keep right" meaning those old Ford Fiestas can stay to the right and out of the way. Traffic on the right isn't expected to go over 45-55mph.

Raising it to 90 would not be something I would like to see. There are enough people out there that take our current 65mph limit and push well over 75. Considering that drivers who may be driving at 45~60 tend to ignore the "keep to right" suggestion the higher speeds can result in more rear-end collisions.

It is simply a fact that drivers, unless they are well experienced in driving where you have high closing rates on cars you are overtaking will misjudge the open distance ahead.

There is a second issue. When you have been driving at high speeds for some period of time you fail to realize just how fast you are going. Exiting the roadway and approaching the end of the exit ramp can make for accidents.

If you look at high speed motorways in Europe the exit ramps, unlike many in the United States, do not end with a stop sign or traffic light. They merge into the cross road traffic. Here is the U.S. all to many end with a stop sign which after an hour or so of high speed driving is hard to judge.

I have driven motorcycle across northern Nevada (Rt. 50) which, while two-lane, is nearly straight as a die. Traffic is almost non-existant and, after running for some distance/time at 125mph speeds, you can have a real problem judging a proper speed when entering a town or even stopping for gasoline.

Now, if we were to build some high-speed roads of a class of the German Autobahn, and require drivers to undergo additional qualification to drive these roads in te high speed lanes, then I would have no problem. The current Interstate Highway System simply isn't of a quality that will support much higher speeds. Parts of it are falling apart due to the heavy truck traffic because the underlayment is only about half the depth of what the Autobahn is.


While everything you say is generally true, I suppose they had these same arguments when 25mph was "fast"... and yet for the most part we've done OK with higher speeds. I'm sure we'll manage.
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Message 1159865 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 18:12:08 UTC - in response to Message 1159839.  

All true, though from the image alone it seems to me that both white vans in the foreground on the anticlockwise carriageway could safely move left, as could the car some way in front of the rightmost of these white vans. It could be that the leftmost of these white vans is gradually moving over to the right in preparation for the divergence ahead, which may be appropriate. Even with the caveats you provide, I still believe it does, to some extent, support my comment that "drivers do not always return to the left lanes when it is safe".


I assume vehicle speed can affect your perspective too here. Next time I travel down to my parents I will observe the inside lane rule as applied by the other drivers on the motor way. M25 j16 to j6 will be the length I will be travelling along. Also I tend to set out quite early on a Saturday morning when the motorway is fairly clear.
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Message 1159875 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 18:28:14 UTC - in response to Message 1159865.  
Last modified: 7 Oct 2011, 19:10:08 UTC

All true, though from the image alone it seems to me that both white vans in the foreground on the anticlockwise carriageway could safely move left, as could the car some way in front of the rightmost of these white vans. It could be that the leftmost of these white vans is gradually moving over to the right in preparation for the divergence ahead, which may be appropriate. Even with the caveats you provide, I still believe it does, to some extent, support my comment that "drivers do not always return to the left lanes when it is safe".


I assume vehicle speed can affect your perspective too here. Next time I travel down to my parents I will observe the inside lane rule as applied by the other drivers on the motor way. M25 j16 to j6 will be the length I will be travelling along. Also I tend to set out quite early on a Saturday morning when the motorway is fairly clear.


I'm sure relative speeds are part of the "safe" equation. While it's anecdotal, there have been times when I've been driving that the left lane (or right in the US) is clear, yet there are cars in the middle, to overtake these I move across two lanes of traffic (one at a time, pausing for a moment in the middle and rechecking that a further lane change is safe), overtake, then move back across to the left (or right). On one memorable occasion on the M4 near Bristol, there was a Rolls Royce in the right hand lane of the eastbound carriage way doing about 65 mph, again I moved from the left over to the right, slowed down and followed it for perhaps half a mile, then started flashing the headlights, the car in front then moved over to the middle lane, once past I returned to the left lane and the Rolls Royce to the right, there was little, if any, other traffic in the vicinity at the time.

ETA: Public Service Announcement :-)
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that ...

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Message 1159903 - Posted: 7 Oct 2011, 19:31:23 UTC

On one memorable occasion on the M4 near Bristol, there was a Rolls Royce in the right hand lane of the eastbound carriage way doing about 65 mph, again I moved from the left over to the right, slowed down and followed it for perhaps half a mile, then started flashing the headlights, the car in front then moved over to the middle lane, once past I returned to the left lane and the Rolls Royce to the right, there was little, if any, other traffic in the vicinity at the time.

Wanted to be sure The Americans in The Audience got a Good Read of The Above Statement.

Dull
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Message 1160565 - Posted: 9 Oct 2011, 13:34:27 UTC

Do you know what?

I drove 20 miles down the A1 this afternoon and was hardly able to see the tarmac for the cars going both North and South bound.

Still at midnight last night there was hardly a vehicle on the dual carriageway.
It's good to be back amongst friends and colleagues



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Message 1160643 - Posted: 9 Oct 2011, 17:41:44 UTC - in response to Message 1159903.  

On one memorable occasion on the M4 near Bristol, there was a Rolls Royce in the right hand lane of the eastbound carriage way doing about 65 mph, again I moved from the left over to the right, slowed down and followed it for perhaps half a mile, then started flashing the headlights, the car in front then moved over to the middle lane, once past I returned to the left lane and the Rolls Royce to the right, there was little, if any, other traffic in the vicinity at the time.

Wanted to be sure The Americans in The Audience got a Good Read of The Above Statement.

Dull

But... it was a Rolls Royce, Don't Rolls owners automatically get a permanent lease on the right lane along with the car?

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Message 1160650 - Posted: 9 Oct 2011, 17:53:29 UTC - in response to Message 1160643.  
Last modified: 9 Oct 2011, 17:54:28 UTC

On one memorable occasion on the M4 near Bristol, there was a Rolls Royce in the right hand lane of the eastbound carriage way doing about 65 mph, again I moved from the left over to the right, slowed down and followed it for perhaps half a mile, then started flashing the headlights, the car in front then moved over to the middle lane, once past I returned to the left lane and the Rolls Royce to the right, there was little, if any, other traffic in the vicinity at the time.

Wanted to be sure The Americans in The Audience got a Good Read of The Above Statement.

Dull

But... it was a Rolls Royce, Don't Rolls owners automatically get a permanent lease on the right lane along with the car?


No, it's the BMW drivers who seem to acquire this privilege!
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Message 1160674 - Posted: 9 Oct 2011, 18:40:10 UTC - in response to Message 1160650.  

On one memorable occasion on the M4 near Bristol, there was a Rolls Royce in the right hand lane of the eastbound carriage way doing about 65 mph, again I moved from the left over to the right, slowed down and followed it for perhaps half a mile, then started flashing the headlights, the car in front then moved over to the middle lane, once past I returned to the left lane and the Rolls Royce to the right, there was little, if any, other traffic in the vicinity at the time.

Wanted to be sure The Americans in The Audience got a Good Read of The Above Statement.

Dull

But... it was a Rolls Royce, Don't Rolls owners automatically get a permanent lease on the right lane along with the car?


No, it's the BMW drivers who seem to acquire this privilege!



Audi owners are there as well.

They keep filling up the motorways so there is no clear carriage ways ahead.
It's good to be back amongst friends and colleagues



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Message boards : Politics : UK Motorway limit to be 80mph


 
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