Highway Code 2022 Updates – What You Need to Know

On 29 January 2022, there were important updates to the Highway Code that all drivers need to know – whether you’re learning to drive or you have years of experience. These changes have been introduced to make the roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. 50 rules have been added or updated across 9 sections of the Highway Code. Visit gov.uk to see the full list of amendments. We’ve summarised the main changes below to help Intensive Courses pupils, past and present, drive more safely.

Main Highway Code changes at a glance

There’s a new hierarchy of road users. It puts the responsibility on drivers of cars and large vehicles to reduce the danger they pose to more vulnerable road users.

  • At a junction, drivers should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road into which or from which they are turning.
  • Drivers should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.
  • Drivers should keep a low speed, and leave at least 2 metres of space, when passing a pedestrian walking in the road.
  • When turning into or out of a junction – or changing direction or lane – drivers should not cut across cyclists going straight ahead.
  • Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph and allow more space when overtaking at higher speeds.
  • Cyclists may now ride in the centre of the road or 2 abreast and drivers should only overtake when it is safe to do so.
  • Drivers should pass people riding a horse or driving a horse-drawn vehicle at under 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space.
  • The ‘Dutch Reach’ technique is advised when opening a vehicle door to avoid injuring passing cyclists. This involves using the hand on the opposite side to the door as it’s more likely to make drivers look over their shoulder.

New Highway Code rules in more detail

Rule 1: Hierarchy of road users

This new rule sets out a hierarchy of road users. It puts responsibility on drivers of large vehicles to reduce the risk they pose to others. Pedestrians (especially children, disabled people and older adults), cyclists and horse riders are recognised as the most vulnerable. Here is the hierarchy of road users:

  1. Pedestrians
  2. Cyclists
  3. Horse riders
  4. Motorcyclists
  5. Cars/taxis
  6. Vans/minibuses
  7. Large passenger vehicles/heavy goods vehicles (HGVs)

 

Rule 2: Priorities for pedestrians

At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders and cyclists must give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road into which or from which they are turning. (Previously, vehicles were given priority at junctions, unless the other road user was halfway across the junction.) Drivers should also give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing (a combined pedestrian and cycle crossing). There is other guidance for cyclists and pedestrians on shared-use cycle tracks and pavements – see gov.uk for details.

Rule 3: Drivers to give priority to cyclists in certain situations

This new rule means that drivers must give priority to cyclists when turning in or out of a junction, or changing direction or lane. It applies whether the cyclist is using a cycle lane, cycle track or riding on the road. Drivers should also stop and wait for a safe gap to pass when cyclists are at roundabouts; approaching, passing or pulling away from a junction; or in still or slow-moving traffic.

 

How to stay updated on the Highway code in future

It’s important to stay up to date with changes to the Highway Code, even after you’ve passed your driving test with Intensive Courses. It’s easy to keep track of future amendments throughout your lifetime of driving:

  • Visit gov.uk to check the Code regularly
  • Download the Highway Code app
  • Sign up for email alerts when the rules change
  • Follow @HighwayCodeGB on Facebook.
  • A new printed edition of The Official Highway Code will be available later in 2022.

Keep this web page bookmarked for future updates on the Highway code, too!

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