The highway code always has little updates and changes to the rules to improve safety on our roads. But some New Highway Code Rules have been made leaving lots of us very confused and unsure about how this will effect us. Lets have a look at the changes.
What is the Hierarchy of Road Users:New Highway Code Rules?
Think of a pyramid – At the top of the pyramid you have the most vulnerable in the event of a collision on a UK road. At the bottom you have the least vulnerable person or object that could use a UK road. So with that in mind a person is the most vulnerable and is therefore at the top of the pyramid, followed by cyclist, horse riders and motorcyclists. After this we then have cars and van drivers followed by bus and lorry drivers at the very bottom. With bus and lorry drivers being far larger vehicles than anything above they would cause the most danger in the event of a collision.
By this point im sure you are thinking this is common sense, which I would agree with. However they needed to create a clear set of rules for people to follow, especially with the possibility with future self driving cars being on the roads, without those rules where would blame lie?
Where Can I Find the New Highway Code Rules?
All the rules of the road can be found in the highway code which makes it a really good idea to have one in the car to answer any of those questions your just not quite sure of. Get a highway code here: https://uk.bookshop.org/a/11525/9780115539954
What do the New Highway Code Rules Say?
Rule H1 New Highwaycode Rule
This rule is focused around taking responsibility for our own safety and others safety as well. It reminds us we need to be considerate towards other roads users and be aware of the highway code.
Rule H2 New Highwaycode Rule
This rule explains what we should do at a junction when a pedestrian is waiting to cross. To put it simply when turning into a junction or come out of a junction we should always give way to pedestrians provided it is safe to do so.
Rule H3 New Highwaycode Rule
This rule is focused motorcyclists and drivers when coming into contact with cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles. The rule essentially states you, has a lower hierarchy road user should also give way to these other road users when it is safe to do so.
Do you need to know the best way to deal with cyclists on the road? Check out our latest guide on how to safely manage with cyclists on the road.
Is the New Highwaycode Rules Law?
Many rules in the highway code are legal requirements so yes the highway code is law. However a number of the rules in the highway code say “should” which means we should follow them but we are less likely to be charged with not following them unless we cause a collision. Some of the rules in the highway code use the word “must” which suggests these are a legal requirement and must be followed. lets be honest they are in there for a reason so any one with common sense will follow these rules. However we all make mistakes. But we can do our best to follow them to keep eveyrone safe.
Why Did They Create the Hierarchy of Road Users?
The main reason is to clarify what was common sense into a black and white set of rules for everyone to clearly understand. I do also however believe they are trying to be future proof and preparing for driver-less cars and all the problems that are going to come with them.
1. What are the new changes in the Highway Code for pedestrian priority?
In the updated Highway Code, there is a new hierarchy of road users. Pedestrians are at the top of this hierarchy, which means drivers and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road.
2. How does the new Highway Code address cyclist safety?
The updated rules place an emphasis on cyclist safety. There are now clear rules on overtaking cyclists, mandating that motorists should allow at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking at speeds under 30mph and more room for higher speeds.
3. What changes have been made for horse riders in the Highway Code?
The new Highway Code rules specify that motorists should allow at least 2 metres of space when overtaking horse riders and should pass them at a maximum speed of 15mph.
4. Are there any new rules about parking in the updated Highway Code?
Yes, the updated Highway Code states that drivers should not park on the pavement unless signs permit it, as it can force pedestrians, including those with disabilities, onto the road.
5. What is the ‘Dutch Reach’ that’s mentioned in the new Highway Code?
The ‘Dutch Reach’ is a method of opening a car door with the hand furthest from the door. This forces you to look over your shoulder, helping to prevent ‘dooring’ incidents with cyclists.
6. What are the new rules regarding junctions in the Highway Code?
Drivers aiming to turn into a side road should give way to cyclists and pedestrians crossing the road into which they’re turning. Similarly, cyclists are advised to give way to pedestrians crossing the roads they are turning into.
7. What has changed about driving on motorways in the new Highway Code?
While it’s not a change, it’s worth re-emphasising that lane hogging (staying in the middle or outside lane when the inside lanes are free) is not acceptable. Drivers should always keep left when the road ahead is clear.
8. What’s the new guidance about driving in bad weather?
The new Highway Code advises drivers to use dipped headlights in poor visibility conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or fog, to ensure they are seen by other road users.
9. Are there any new rules about speed limits in the updated Highway Code?
While the specific speed limits haven’t changed, the new Highway Code reinforces that these are limits, not targets, and it’s often safer to drive below the maximum speed, especially in built-up areas or in adverse weather conditions.
10. What’s the new advice for drivers regarding emergency vehicles?
The new Highway Code rules specify that you should not break the law (e.g., going through a red light or driving in a bus lane) to make way for emergency vehicles. Instead, you should try to move in a way that’s safe and legal to let them pass.