Key changes for the Highway Code | Industry - Car News Sep 2021

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17:29 Tuesday 21 Sep 2021

The Highway Code has been updated with important new safety information for drivers. The changes include new rules and key upgrades to existing rules to make roads safer.

The Highway Code was first published in 1931 and has undergone a number of important updates over the years. The driver's guide book is published by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) and applies to England, Scotland and Wales.

The latest changes will provide drivers with improved guidance for smart motorways, variable speed limits, rest breaks and the rules that govern towing. There is also new advice on road safety and dealing with emergency situations on the road. 

Rule 91 has been updated to make it clear that drivers need to get sufficient sleep before a long journey. Emergency areas and hard shoulders on motorways should never be used for a rest break.

Rule 97 has been updated to make it clear that drivers must have a valid licence and vehicle insurance, while the vehicle must be in a legal and roadworthy condition with basic vehicle maintenance and safety checks carried out before the driver sets off.

Rule 98 has been revised to make it clear that reduced speed limits may apply when towing a caravan or trailer and it may take the vehicle longer to build up speed when towing. The driver is also reminded that trailers and caravans must be in a roadworthy condition, including tyres, lights and brakes. A driver may also need to use towing mirrors and vehicles which are towing should not be in the outside lanes on the motorway.

Rule 126 now clearly states the dangers of tailgating and drivers are reminded that it is an offence, punishable with a fine and licence penalty points.

Updates to Rule 253 provides a clear overview of the changes to the provisional car licence, which means learners can drive on the motorway when they are accompanied by an approved driving instructor and are driving a car displaying red L plates (or D plates in Wales).

The new Highway Code also provides improved advice on areas that are usually enforced by cameras, with Rule 258 explaining red X lane closures. Rule 269 provides clear guidance on smart motorways and all lane running where the hard shoulder on the motorway becomes an extra lane during periods of congestion.

Updates to Rule 263 also makes it clear that it is illegal to reverse along any part of a motorway, including slip roads, hard shoulders and emergency areas.

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