Every morning I travel past a sign on the M25 that tells passing motorists the following:

“Variable speed limit: To make your journey safer and easier OBSERVE the speed limit and STAY in lane.”

Observe the speed limit? Fine. We all know the limits are there to be obeyed, even if we don’t all agree with what the limit is set to, let alone how the variable speed limits are managed.

But surely telling people that staying in lane is a safer and easier way to travel is contradictory with the government’s own rules or the motorway? Are we no longer supposed to move to the left when not overtaking?

Admittedly this sign resides just before the M3 junction, which is invariably busy but, as someone who spends a lot of time on motorways, it seems obvious to me that good drivers are those who are alert and confident enough to move over when there is traffic joining the motorway, and to adjust speed accordingly to make sure it’s done safely.

All of which involves changing lane. As does merging – something else that is sort of obligatory if you don’t want to drive off the motorway at the end of a slip road.

So remember – next time you see someone steering their way down the middle lane of a deserted motorway, repeatedly braking and accelerating in order to obey the different speed limits shown at every gantry, follow their example. Apparently it’s the safe and easy way to drive.

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