Famous American travel writer ridiculed by Brits after filming M6 journey on phone whilst hogging middle lane at 50mph

Cars had to undertake American travel writer Rick Steves as he filmed his journey whilst hogging the middle-lane of the M6 in Cumbria on Sunday (July 21)
Cars had to undertake American travel writer Rick Steves as he filmed his journey whilst hogging the middle-lane of the M6 in Cumbria on Sunday (July 21)
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A famous American travel writer has been slammed by Brits after he filmed a video at the wheel of his rental car - whilst cruising at 50mph in the middle lane of the M6.


Rick Steves, 64, is a celebrated travel writer and TV personality in the States, where he is noted for his popular guidebooks on the UK and Europe.

His books and TV series, aimed at an US audience, have sold millions and he is known to encourage Americans to become what he calls "temporary locals".

Enthusing on the 'local way of life', Rick encourages people to adopt the native etiquette and embrace the 'quirks' of the host country.

But Rick's freewheeling travel philosophy has irked Brits who criticised his driving manners and apparent disregard for the rules of the British road after his latest video went viral.

It's almost a British institution to get irritated behind the wheel, and 'middle-lane hogging' is often high on the list of drivers' pet peeves.

Some cars had to cross 4 lanes of traffic to overtake him, to avoid illegally undertaking the 'middle-lane hogger'

Some cars had to cross 4 lanes of traffic to overtake him, to avoid illegally undertaking the 'middle-lane hogger'

So you imagine the reaction Rick received when he shared a video of himself talking to the camera whilst driving at a steady 50mph in the middle lane of the M6 northbound - as exasperated drivers were forced to undertake him in the left-hand lane.

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"Driving north after a full day of guidebook research in Blackpool, I had to share a few English road-tripping thoughts", enthused Rick.

"Of course, in England you drive on the left side of the road, so there's a little getting used to driving that way", Rick admits.

Rick praised his rental car, which he mistakenly identified as a 'Citroen Airbag' model

Rick praised his rental car, which he mistakenly identified as a 'Citroen Airbag' model

As Rick cheerily engages with his viewers whilst busily panning his camera around the rental car, the travel writer is seemingly oblivious to the driving offences he commits.

As the American cruises leisurely northbound in the middle lane - chatting breezily to the camera - frustrated lorry drivers can be seen charging past him in the left lane.

As most British drivers are well-aware, 'middle-lane hogging' is an offence in the UK.

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Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author, activist and television personality

Rick Steves is an American travel writer, author, activist and television personality

Quick-tempered Brits' also ridiculed the American for referring to the popular holiday destination as 'the Cumbrian's Lakes District', and a gaff he makes when praising his rental car.

"This is a beautiful model", says Rick as he happily pans his camera to show off the vehicle's interior.

"It's a Citroen model...erm...Airbag", he says, as he mistakenly assumes the 'Airbag' sign on the steering wheel is the name of the car model.

Elsewhere in the two-minute clip, the American travel writer shares his regret at having a "brutal haircut in Liverpool".

"I'm sure it'll grow back someday", he quips.

British viewers were also left irked by the American's leisurely use of his smartphone whilst at the wheel - an offence that commands three penalty points and an automatic £60 fine.

Rick Steves has sold millions of copies of his UK and European travel guides, which are popular with American readers

Rick Steves has sold millions of copies of his UK and European travel guides, which are popular with American readers

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What is the law regarding 'middle-lane hoggers'?

When driving along a three-lane motorway, rule 264 of the Highway Code states: "You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear.

"Middle-lane hogging is when vehicles remain in the middle lane longer than necessary, even when there aren't any vehicles in the inside lane to overtake."

Many also see staying in the middle lane as selfish, because if someone is correctly following the Highway Code and driving in the inside lane when they catch up with a 'middle-lane hogger', they are then forced to move across two lanes of traffic to overtake the lane hogger and avoid ‘undertaking’.

This means the overtaker has to complete four lane changes in total, instead of two.

New laws introduced in 2013 even give police officers the power to hand out on-the-spot fines of £100 and three penalty points for the offence.