8 Changes to the Highway Code in 2022
A survey conducted by the AA suggests that over half of UK drivers have not read the recent updated Highway Code. Of those that were surveyed, 61% claimed to have not read the updated guidance changes that were made in January.
6,972 motorists had heard of the new rules but had not read them yet, and a shocking 1,118 drivers surveyed were completely unaware of the changes.
One of the changes to the Highway Code includes giving pedestrians greater priorities on the road, including giving way to pedestrians when they are crossing the road at junctions. It also gives greater priorities on the road to cyclists and horse riders.
The Highway Code also now advises cyclists to ride in the centre of lanes in slower-moving traffic, on quieter roads and when approaching junctions.
A hierarchy of road-users was also introduced, encouraging drivers in cars, vans and lorries to take responsibility to watch out for other more vulnerable road users.
This adjustment to the Highway Code means that a driver is now more likely to be penalized for putting other road users in harm’s way. The change will hopefully encourage people to remain vigilant and more mindful when they are driving.
The new advice includes changes to the following:
- Hierarchy of road users
The hierarchy places road users who are most at risk at the top of the hierarchy. This means that pedestrians and cyclists are at the top of the hierarchy.
- People crossing the road at junctions
Drivers should give way to people who are crossing or waiting to cross at a junction. The pedestrians will always have priority, and drivers should be aware of this change. People driving, riding a motorcycle or cycling must give way to people on a zebra crossing and people walking and cycling on a parallel crossing.
- Walking, cycling and riding in shared spaces
People cycling are asked to not pass people walking, riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle closely or at a high speed. They are also asked to slow down when necessary and let people know they are approaching (by using a bell, as example).
Road users must remember that people walking may be deaf, blind or partially sighted and must keep that in mind. Road users are also asked to not pass a horse on the horse’s left.
- Positioning in the road when cycling
Cyclists are encouraged to ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions and road narrowing’s. They are also encouraged to keep at least 0.5 meters (or just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them.
It also specifies that cyclists should take care when passing parked vehicles, leaving enough room (a doors width/1 meter) to avoid being hit if a car door is opened suddenly.
There is updated guidance relating to safely overtaking other road users. It advises to leave at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) when overtaking people cycling at speeds up to 30mph. When passing people riding horses or horse-drawn vehicles at speeds under 10mph, they should allow at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space.
When passing a person walking in the road, drivers should allow 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keep to a low speed, never overtaking when it is unsafe or impossible to meet these requirements.
- People cycling at junctions
The code recommends that people cycling should proceed as if they were driving a vehicle when there are no separate cyclist facilities. They should position themselves in the centre of their chosen lane when safe.
This is so that they are made as visible as possible and to avoid being overtaken in situations where it is dangerous to do so.
- People cycling, riding a horse or driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts
Motorists should not make any attempt to overtake cyclists, horse-riders and horse-drawn vehicles on a roundabout, who are advised to stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout.
- Parking, charging and leaving vehicles
Motorists are advised to use a new technique called the “Dutch reach” when exiting their vehicle. They should open their door with their hand on the opposite side to the door.
This will make them turn their head to look over their shoulder behind him, which means they would be more aware of cyclists or other vehicles approaching.
For those using an electric vehicle charge point, they should park as close to the charge point as possible, display a warning sign if possible and return charging cables neatly to minimize hazards to other road users.
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