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The lane discipline of a motorway

Driving on a motorway is not something you will be able to do until you pass your test, and therefore it is important to understand as much about motorway driving as you can before your first motorway journey.

You will need to know particularly what the different lanes are for. Most motorway stretches will have three lanes, and a hard shoulder. Here is what they are each for:

The hard shoulder is there for emergency use only, and you should never use it for anything like overtaking! Occasionally if other lanes of the motorway are closed the hard shoulder will be used as a temporary lane, but in virtually all road conditions you should never use the hard shoulder.

The left hand lane is the one that you should be in most of the time. Although many people appear to hog the middle lane, it is the left hand one you should drive in most of the time.

The middle lane is used for overtaking traffic in the left hand lane; if there are several slower moving vehicles in a row you can stay in this lane to stop having to dart in and out, but once you pass those vehicles then you should move back into the left hand lane.

The outer most right hand lane is there for overtaking traffic that's in the middle lane. There are several road vehicles that are not allowed in this lane. These include large goods vehicles, and those that are towing a trailer, and also vehicles with weight above 7.5 tonnes.

So in summary, drive in the left hand lane apart from for overtaking, and once you've overtaken then move back into the left hand lane unless there are a stream of slower moving cars you need to pass in which case you should move back in to the left lane once you've passed them. Never undertake or use the hard shoulder, which is only there for emergencies.

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