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The fines for driving in the middle vary between 116 and 160 euros.

Every year, approximately 2.000 Belgian drivers are caught because they unnecessarily continue to drive in the middle section of the motorway. This is evident from police data that was recently revealed in the new podcast 'People don't annoy you', an initiative of the consumer program 'WinWin' on Radio2.

According to the traffic rules in Belgium, it is mandatory to drive as right as possible, unless other circumstances make this impossible. However, the figures show that not everyone adheres to this. In the first four months of 2023 alone, 967 fines were issued for this specific violation. For comparison: in record year 2019, no fewer than 2.718 fines were issued for the same offense.

Chaima Saysay, newsreader at Radio2 and co-presenter of 'Mens don't annoy you', expresses her frustration about this habit, which she finds not only annoying, but also dangerous. “Medium drivers force me to perform dangerous maneuvers. Sometimes I have to move all the way to the left lane to pass them, or I overtake them on the right, which is also not allowed,” she explains.

Traffic expert Hajo Beeckman, who was also a guest in the podcast, emphasized that unnecessary driving in the middle is not only a violation, but also hinders traffic flow and often leads to traffic jams. “It creates unpredictable situations that sometimes force other drivers to overtake on the right, which is also prohibited,” he adds.

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Antwerp
Photo: © Pitane Blue - Antwerp

An Berger of the Federal Police admits that enforcing this rule is a challenge, because violations are not always easy to determine. “We need to be able to observe a vehicle for a longer period of time, which is not always possible on busy roads. Nevertheless, the police continues to actively monitor and fine,” Berger assures.

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In Belgium, the rule is that drivers must drive in the right lane as much as possible, unless it is necessary to drive in another lane. This rule improves traffic flow and safety on the highways. However, there are some situations in which central lane driving is permitted, even encouraged, to improve road safety and traffic flow. 

in built-up areas

When drivers drive in a built-up area, they may stay in the center or left lane for longer if necessary. This is, for example, the case when you have to turn left within a short distance. In such a situation, it may be safer and more practical to drive in the left or center lane to take the exit.

during heavy traffic and traffic jams

When traffic on the highway is so heavy that it slows down or comes to a near standstill, drivers are not expected to move to the right lane. In traffic jams you may stay in the lane you are following. This ensures fewer lane changes, which improves road safety and reduces the risk of collisions.

traffic signs F13 and F15

At some points above the highways there are blue traffic signs indicating driving directions. If such signs indicate which lane you should follow for your direction, you may stay in that lane. Other drivers following a different direction may then overtake you on the right. This exception ensures that drivers are prepared to approach exits or intersections without having to change lanes unexpectedly.

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