What are the changes to the Highway Code in 2022?
Some interesting changes are coming to the Highway Code this summer. This is on top of the Highway Code Updates 2022 that were introduced in January.
The updates at the start of the year created a ‘hierarchy of road users’. This hierarchy intends to protect vulnerable road users. It also gives larger vehicles more liability in an accident. The changes coming in the summer are to help accommodate self-driving technology.
When are driverless cars coming to the UK?
There are many cars on UK roads that have ‘driverless’ features. This technology is evolving all the time. The UK Government has acknowledged that the Highway Code has to make changes to keep up with the times.
This summer, drivers of cars with autonomous modes will be able to try ‘hands-free’ driving. In some situations, they can even watch videos while driving. Cars driving in autonomous modes will have to stay in a single lane. This means drivers will still be responsible for lane changes. The highest speed for travelling in this way will be set at 37 miles per hour. Drivers must stay alert and regain full control of the car if needed.
Some modern electric vehicles, like the Tesla Model 3, may get an over-the-air update soon. This could introduce new features that they didn’t have before. As the Highway Code changes in the future, cars like these will be able to make the changes overnight.
How did the Highway Code change in January?
In January, the Highway Code added eight new rules. The biggest change was the creation of a hierarchy of road users.
This hierarchy is simple. The larger the vehicle, the greater responsibility you have to those around you. This extends to cyclists too. Rules underscore the responsibility cyclists have to pedestrians.
In the Highway Code 2022, the hierarchy of road users has three rules; H1, H2, and H3.
This rule states that larger vehicles should take steps to minimise danger to vulnerable road users. The people in control of these vehicles are likely to cause the most significant harm in a collision. That means they have the most significant responsibility on the road, and should take steps to reduce risks.
The Highway Code suggests that this rule has a major impact on drivers of heavy goods vehicles. It also applies to vehicles that carry larger numbers of passengers. These include vehicles such as minibuses, coaches, and taxis.
Horse riders and cyclists are also reminded that they should look after pedestrians. They have a responsibility to act with greater care and safety when around them.
This rule applies to all drivers, cyclists and horse riders. It says that when you are at a junction you should allow the right of way to pedestrians. This is whether they are crossing the road from which you are leaving or which you are turning into.
This means that if you are turning into a road, you should allow any waiting pedestrians to make their crossing first. Cyclists are also told to give way to pedestrians. This applies to shared-use pathways. Cyclists need to take greater care when cycling past people who are walking and jogging.
This rule provides extra safety to cyclists, people riding horses, and horse-drawn carriages. It clarifies the safest approaches for drivers when they are near these types of road users.
The rule says that drivers should not ‘cut across’ these road users. This applies when making a turn, changing lanes, or changing direction. When you are turning at a road junction, your turn should not cause a horse rider or cyclist to stop their travel. You should wait for a clear opportunity to make your manoeuvre. Incidents involving horses have become more common on UK roads. These rules are aimed at reducing these numbers by increasing driver awareness.
These changes to the Highway Code intend to increase public safety on the roads. They are not laws, they simply provide advice on how to use vehicles on the roads safely. It is worth noting that breaches of the Highway Code help assess liability in court as part of the Road Traffic Act. Every driver should be aware of the current Highway Code to protect themselves. It also protects the other road users around them. Read here to find out some driving laws you didn't know existed.
It may have been a while since you took your driving theory test. Some drivers might not have taken one at all. The changes made to the Highway Code over the years may come as a shock to you. There have been some significant improvements over the years to make our roads a safer place. For more guides like this, check out how to parallel park.
Rivervale is committed to safety, responsibility, adaptability, and community. As the Highway Code guides us on the roads, Rivervale Leasing guides us through the leasing process, ensuring a smooth and secure experience for all. No matter how long you have been driving you may need to refresh your knowledge. Get your hands on the latest Highway Code for 2022 and see how much has changed since you took your test.
Get in touch with Rivervale today on 01273 433 480 to discuss car leasing, and see if we can find the perfect lease deal for you. Alternatively, you can request a callback for a time that is convenient for you!