Almost a quarter of British motorists admit to hogging the middle lane when driving on motorways, new research has discovered.

A survey by consumer site Confused.com found that some 24 percent of drivers admitted to hogging the middle lane, while 18 percent confessed to tailgating.

Both these offences fall under the category of ‘careless driving’ and are punishable by three penalty points and a £100 fine.

However, the study found that two-thirds of drivers (66 percent) were unaware that they were committing an offence, while 54 percent say they linger in the middle lane ‘accidentally’.

Many drivers, though, are hogging their lane for less innocent reasons. More than one-third (37 percent) of drivers stay in the middle lane because it ‘saves changing lanes’, while 33 percent think driving in the middle lane ‘feels safer’.

Confused.com says the issue ‘needs to be addressed’, as its survey found that 13 percent of drivers have had a near miss caused by tailgating, while 12 percent have come close to disaster because of lane hogging.

But a Freedom of Information request by the company found that just 2,012 drivers were fined for careless driving in 2016.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com said: ‘Unfortunately, lane offences are difficult crimes to catch in the act, but hopefully allowing learner drivers to practice on motorways from June 4 is a step towards reducing the number of tailgaters and middle lane hoggers on our roads.

‘Tailgating and middle lane hogging are not only punishable with points and a fine, but can increase your car insurance premiums in an already expensive time for motoring.’

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