RIGHT-lane road hogs will be the target of a sweeping new police crackdown.
Under the blitz, selfish motorists caught refusing to move to the left will be punished with an on-the-spot $122 fine and the loss of two demerit points.
It is the first time Victoria Police's highway patrols will seek go-slow motorists - often dubbed "Sunday drivers" - and enforce the law of failing to keep as far left as possible.
The tough stance on these drivers will also pinpoint tailgaters as winter brings dangerous low light levels and wet conditions.
Sen-Sgt Allen Inderwisch said the two offences went hand-in-hand and officers would be clamping down on the "double-edged sword".
"We've studied the crash data and there is a huge spike in nose-to-tail collisions in winter months," Sen-Sgt Inderwisch said.
"We are seeing people in their own world travelling under the speed limit in the right-hand lane and that can create a road-rage scenario, with tailgaters literally trying to push them out of the way.
"They are both wrong and don't make a right."
Sen-Sgt Inderwisch said 12 fines had been handed out on Princes Freeway and South Gippsland Highway since the operation began in the past two weeks.
Failing to drive at a sufficient distance and failing to keep as far left as applicable have been law since 1999 but rarely enforced.
"We find a lot of 'lane-locked' drivers are nervous about merging into another lane, but the repercussions of tailgating aren't helping the situation," he said.
"It makes the drivers scared and causes unpredictable and erratic behaviour, which only raises the blood pressure of tailgaters even more and then we have a serious crash on our hands."
The pilot scheme is being spearheaded by Cardinia Highway Patrol throughout June and July, and closely monitored by units across the state.
If successful in bringing down the amount of crashes, it will be actively enforced statewide.
Marked and unmarked cars as well as police motorcycles are being used in the crackdown.
"Some drive in the right-hand lane out of habit, some ignorance, others are just completely unaware or too scared and inexperienced - but their actions do have a roll-on effect," Sen-Sgt Inderwisch said.
"These are two of the biggest pet hates of drivers on the road and it's an issue that needs to be addressed.
"We would rather be handing out a fine now and correcting behaviour and educating people than dealing with a road-rage assault, serious injury or even death in the months to come."
He urged drivers to double the space between their vehicle and those in front, from the standard two-second rule to about four.
The best way of calculating distances was to count the seconds between the time the car in front passed a road post and the time it took their vehicle to reach it, he said.
The Transport Accident Commission's road safety manager, Samantha Cockfield, said: "The Transport Accident Commission accepts a large number of claims each year from people suffering soft-tissue injuries arising from rear-end crashes.
"These injuries often leave people with long-term pain and suffering and unable to work and perform every-day tasks. Avoiding these types of crashes is simple.
"Stick within the speed limit, share the roads and drive or ride to the conditions."
Fines for drivers tailgating are $183 with the loss of one demerit point.