Posted by Bob on November 13, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Inside Lane/UK posted by Bob on November 13, 2003
: : : : What is the derivation of U.K. road location phrase "inside lane"?
: : : UK drives on the left, so that they pass oncoming vehicles right arm to right arm. If there are two streams of traffic going in the same direction, they are called the inside (left) and outside (right) lanes. If the two are fast flowing they are called a dual carriageway, but in congested areas they are just called 'lanes' or 'streams'.
: : : 'Lane' is traditionally a single track.
: : : As the left side is the one hugging the kerb/verge then that is called the 'inside lane' because it is inside anything going faster or overtaking.
: : : 'Nearside' and 'offside' are alternatives.
: : : The expression 'inside track' is different - it means the most avantageous position - it is a racing term most often used of horse-racing, where the horse closest to the rail that delineates the course has the shortest route to the finish.
: : : 'Inside lane' and 'inside track' are not synonymous.
: : In fact, I believe that the 'inside lane' on US highways is, like a racetrack, up against the central barrier - the very opposite of UK use! I know, because I was nearly involved in an accident because of this difference.
: : US friends, am I right?
: No, US use is the same (only different). The inside lane is the one closest to the on-ramp, and the outside lane is the one closest to the barrier. We do tend to use "left lane" and "right lane" more often, but that alone might throw off a UK visitor. We also refer to the left lane as the "fast lane" as in (sing along now) "life in the fast lane...."
I should also add that we use the term "passing lane" to denote the proper use of the left lane. The logic is that slower traffic keeps right, and faster traffic goes left for as long as it takes to pass. This simple, logical scheme works everywhere except in Wisconsin, where the concept is (apparently) baffling to the natives.