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4 Highway Code Regulations You Should Know (but probably don’t)

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Filed under Automotive, Editorial

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When out on the roads, driving safely is of utmost importance. The highway code was designed to promote safety and applies to all road users. It includes information about things like road signs, vehicle markings and general road safety rules.

However, as many as 75% of road users fail to maintain their knowledge of the Highway Code after passing their driving test. The Highway Code was also amended last year, containing advice on how to protect vulnerable road users but a large number of drivers remain unaware of these changes.

Here, we’ll discuss some of the most common highway code rules that drivers are unaware of in the hopes that they’ll keep you safe when out on the road.

Overtaking vulnerable road users

The most recent update to the Highway Code, and one that many aren’t aware of, includes how drivers should overtake vulnerable road users. This includes cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders.

Motorists should now leave a minimum of 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, and more space when travelling at higher speeds.

Horse-drawn vehicles and riders should only be passed at speeds of less than 10mph and should be given at least two metres of space. This distance also applies when passing a pedestrian walking along the road and the speed should be kept low.

Failure to do so could lead to a serious road accident. If you find yourself in a situation like this, where a driver has failed to follow the Highway Code, you may be eligible to make a claim to get the right recovery support.

Allow buses to move off

Rule 223 of the Highway Code states that priority should be given to buses, trams and coaches if they’re signalling to move away from stops. This should only occur if and when it is safe to do so.

Additionally, you should be aware of the rules of using bus lanes. Whilst it may seem sensible to use these lanes to reduce congestion if there are no buses, you will be punished if you stray during the times of operation.

Knowing when to use parking lights

Vehicles must display parking lights or sidelights when left at night on a road or lay-by with a speed limit above 30mph. If other vehicles on the road are unable to see yours, it could lead to an accident. This is the law and failure to comply can lead to a fine if caught.

If the road is less than 30mph, you don’t need to leave your lights on so long as the vehicle is left in a recognised parking bay, you’re facing oncoming traffic, you’re close to the kerb, and keep a distance of at least 10 metres from the nearest junction.

Driving over mini-roundabouts

While it may not always seem important to go around those small painted roundabouts if the road is quiet, the Code clearly states that failure to do so is unacceptable. Ignoring these and driving straight over them is a common misdemeanour on local roads and can lead to a Fixed Penalty Notice if caught.


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