Changes to the Highway Code

That little book that we all study when learning to drive gets updated regularly, in fact, this September the Highway Code went through some major updates, for example, clearer Motorway advice on:

  • where to stop in an emergency
  • the importance of not driving in a lane closed by a Red X
  • how variable speed limits are used to keep traffic flowing

In total, 33 existing rules in The Highway Code have been amended and two new rules introduced. Amendments have also been made to the additional information within The Highway Code and its annexes.

The new version of the Highway Code includes a “hierarchy of road users”. A new rule makes clear that at a junction, drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or, or out of which, they are turning. 

Cyclists will have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead but, they are expected give way to pedestrians whenever they are in shared cyclist and pedestrian locations.

Here is a summary of the two new rules:

Rule 270 – introduced to ensure motorway users understand:

  • Emergency areas are located along motorways without hard shoulders or where the hard shoulder is used some of the time as an extra lane.
  • How to recognise an emergency area
  • Emergency areas are for emergency use only

Rule 275 – introduced to ensure road users understand:

  • A place of relative safety is where the people and vehicles involved in a breakdown or other incident are less likely to be at risk from moving traffic
  • The safest place to stop in the event of a breakdown or incident is a location which is designed for parking
  • On motorways and other high-speed roads, the safest place to stop is a service area.
  • Other places of relative safety on motorways and other high-speed roads include lay-bys, emergency areas and hard shoulders
  • hard shoulders provide less protection than other places of relative safety

What implications does this have for businesses?

As a business, under Health & Safety law, the business has a legal duty of care to ensure their driving activities are not putting staff or other road users at risk. This means that a good driver risk management programme must be in place, and for any business with five or more employees, the programme must be documented.

If you would like to know more about what good driver risk management is all about, I’d love to have a chat with you, alternatively, click HERE for more information.

Useful links

Click HERE for a link to the summary of Highway Code changes

Click HERE for a link to the Official Highway Code

Click HERE for a link to the Official Highway Code for Northern Ireland

Want a paper copy of the Highway Code?

Click HERE to order a paper copy of the Highway Code

If you live or drive in Northern Ireland, I recommend buying The official highway code for Northern Ireland