CHARLES GRAHAM - Don’t hog the lane you great clod!

Taking to the road is always a risk.

No matter how careful drivers may be, they can’t always legislate for idiots.

And that’s a problem which can only be magnified on the motorway where speeds are higher and reaction times tested to the full.

So I am usually very keen to see the police making sure motorists behave themselves.

In fact, as a passenger on the M62 the other day I was sorely tempted to get my camera phone out and pretend to film the worryingly large number of morons I spotted deep in telephone conversation as they cruised along with one hand on the wheel.

Perhaps the sight of me getting a snap of their number plate and illegal call might shock and shame them, I thought.

But then again I didn’t want either to cause them to panic and heighten their chances of causing an accident - or to become the focus of road rage!

Annoyingly there never seem to be police around to give people like this their come-uppance when I’m watching, but of course officers can’t be everywhere at once.

And I was reasonably pleased at new plans announced this week to get tougher on rogue drivers. Even if the underlying motive is to line Treasury coffers further.

This includes fines for the infuriating and highly dangerous practice of tailgating: keeping intimidatingly close to the bumper of the car in front, either through bad habit or because the motorist behind wants to force the one in front to one side.

Another of my pet hates, which appears not to have been covered in this crackdown, is people in inner lanes who start indicating just as you are about to overtake them.

They either haven’t seen you in their mirror and might pull out, causing an accident, or they have seen you but arrogantly want you to move aside or slam on the brakes because they have decided it’s their moment to make a manoeuvre.

Either reason for this use of the indicator frightens me and I am sure I’m not alone.

In fact there’s little wonder there are so many Clods around given that practice.

Clods are, of course, Centre Lane Owner Drivers, who doggedly stay in the middle of the carriageway in spite of the Highway Code’s telling you it is only for overtaking.

And they themselves are set to be fined by the police under the clampdown. Well, I hope the police use quite a bit of discretion in this particular instance because I find it far less of a hazard than mobile phone use, speeding or tailgating.

If your Clod is driving at exactly 70mph, for example, what harm can they be doing?

Anyone other than an emergency service vehicle would be breaking the law if they tried to overtake them.

And given the practice of indicating to cause panic, it might sometimes be safer for all concerned to stay in one lane rather than constantly bobbing from one to another to overtake a line of slower-moving traffic.

If the Clod is chugging along at 40mph with no excuse for not pulling in and long files of vehicles behind them then yes, they are a menace, and should be brought to book.