New Highway Code Rules


Are you ready for the confusion that the new Highway Code rules are likely to bring to our roads (as if there wasn’t enough already)?

Most changes have met with approval; apart from the one about giving way to people who want to cross roads. Under the current rules, drivers are already required to give way to pedestrians who are crossing a road they are about to enter, or those who are already stepping off the kerb. The changes in the rules now state that drivers should also give way to pedestrians who are waiting to cross the road that the driver is about to enter.

Now that’s all well and good where a driver is slowing down on the approach to the end of a road. In this situation many drivers already hold back for people who have been waiting to step out. However the likely problems will arrive when the driver is turning into a side road.

If someone is about to turn left where there are pedestrians waiting to step out, and that driver suddenly stops; will the following driver react in time? Will that following driver be able to see far enough into to the road to realise that there are people there. There is the argument here that drivers should keep a safe following distance that always allows them to stop in time. But the increased risk of collision will undoubtedly be there; particularly if people who believe they have priority just start walking in front of cars.

Turning Right into a Side Road

When turning right into a side road however there are going to be all manner of complications. A right-turning driver has to give way to oncoming traffic. If they also have to wait for pedestrians, when is that safe gap going to come along? They may miss gaps because there’s someone about to cross. On particularly busy roads those gaps may not appear very often; and woe betide the driver who tries to make a quick turn when someone’s about to step out. If they then have to brake in the path of an oncoming car the danger is obvious.

What if an oncoming driver courteously stops, flashes their lights and waves the waiting driver to turn? With pedestrians near the kerb do they just shrug their shoulders and wait; or do they look for a courteous pedestrian to be aware of the situation and also wave them across?

The Cause of More Congestion?

The most ludicrous situation will probably occur in busy town centres where there are hundreds of people about. If those people have priority over a right-turning driver how long are they going to have to sit on the main road and wait? Traffic behind them will grind to a standstill including all the public transport vehicles which are supposed to encourage us to leave our cars at home.

The concerns noted by many about this situation have caused the Department of Transport to have a rethink. They are talking about carefully re-wording these new rules. But will any of this help to stop the confusion and conflict? I very much doubt it.

Click on the link below to get hold of a copy of the new Highway Code 2022.

The Highway Code 2022 >>> 

7 thoughts on “New Highway Code Rules”

  1. First of all, I am so pleased that I can vent my feelings about the new highway code changes. I am an HGV driver trainer and assessor for a multi-national company in the UK. I wholeheartedly agree with the above comments, in fact, when I first read these new changes, I had a sleepless night thinking exactly about this issue. I for one, think this new change will cause absolute havoc especially in busy built up areas and I can only see more ‘road rage’ occurring. Another point I’d like to make is this: How many pedestrians (non motorists) have even read a highway code, let alone read the new one? Therefore, chaos and confusion will be waiting at EVERY junction!!

  2. I regularly turn left from a busy main road – pedestrians are already an issue as there are 6 schools in the vicinity. Another side road does have a pedestrian crossing however I dread to think of the steady stream of teenagers who already ignore the signals. This is a nightmare waiting to happen.

    1. Couldn’t agree more, kids in particular are not going to realise that there has to be some kind of balance. I’m sure there will be some who will just walk out regardless of the potential risk.

  3. Many cyclists who don’t own a car have never learned the Highway Code. In my younger years, the local police service used to go around organisations and teach cycle courses on how to ride a bike on the road.

    I have seen adult cyclists go through RED lights at junctions and I was moving to a green light and I nearly hit them.

    This update to cyclists and roundabouts is going to create problems at them and is going to cause issues if the cyclist is to stay in the left hand lane while taking an exit on the right, especially for vehicles, which have came on from a different side and are exiting the same time as the cyclist.

    For a cyclists, if a roundabout has a line of stopped traffic, it means it’s busy, use an alternative route if available.

    All too often I have seen cyclists move from a roundabout when it is busy and caused a vehicle exiting at the next exit to brake.

    Cyclists who use the road to travel and don’t have a motorbike, car or HGV licence, need to do the theory test or go on a course on how to handle their bike on the road.

    1. Cyclists going through red lights are no less guilty than drivers going through red lights; and in my 40 years on the road I have seen plenty of those!

      A compulsory test for riders would be great but impossible to govern.

      I completely agree that encouraging cyclists to cross in front of traffic by turning right from the left hand lane of a roundabout is highly dangerous. As a rider myself I would never dream of doing this. I can only think that the people who wrote these rules are living in an alternate universe to the rest of us.

  4. I can’t figure out what you do at Traffic Lights with a Pedestian crossing Light, do pedestrians no longer have to wait for the little man to go Green?

    1. If there are pedestrian crossing lights then people should obey them as they do now. Where serious complications could occur however, is at traffic lights where pedestrians don’t have their own signals. Is a driver with a green light supposed to give way to people wanting to cross before turning? If so this is going to cause major congestion. I have already contacted the Department for Transport to seek clarification on this but have not yet received a response.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top