Surveys reveal drivers are still unaware of Highway Code changes

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Recent surveys have shown that many drivers are still unsure about the latest changes to the Highway Code that came into force earlier this year.

Drivers were asked if they could identify some of the new Highway Code rules. Research from the motoring organisation the RAC and car dealership Vertu Motors found that most motorists were still unclear about the changes to the Highway Code and how the changes affect them.

According to the RAC, 62% of drivers claim they are familiar with some of the Highway Code rule changes but not all of them. Over 50% of drivers surveyed by Vertu Motors could not identify a single new rule at all.

A further survey commissioned by ITV which tested drivers on specific rule changes found that 38% did not know that a pedestrian crossing the road at a junction now has right of way over a vehicle that is looking to turn.

What are the new Highway Code rules?

The new Highway Code rules have been introduced to help prevent accidents on British roads, especially those involving vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

As outlined in our blog article earlier this year when the Highway Code changes came into force, the new rules include:

  • Introduction of a new risk-based ‘hierarchy of road users’, where those who would be in the most danger in an accident are prioritised. This means that road users who could cause the greatest harm (e.g. HGV drivers) have the most responsibility to reduce the threat they may pose to others
  • Use of the ‘Dutch reach’ technique to prevent cyclists getting injured by drivers not noticing their approach and opening car doors in their path. This means opening the car door with the hand that is furthest away from the door, to ensure you look behind you as you open your door and give you a better chance of spotting cyclists.
  • The introduction of new rules which mean that drivers must give way to pedestrians and other vulnerable road users at junctions and crossings.

Accident risk

The general lack of awareness of the Highway Code is a cause for concern and has the potential to increase the risk of road accidents. Some 44% of drivers have never refreshed their knowledge of the Highway Code after passing their driving test, raising further concerns about drivers’ knowledge of the rules of the road.

The government has also been criticised for its failure to properly publicise the Highway Code changes.

How Novum Law can help

Claire Sagala, a specialist personal injury solicitor from our Swindon team, says:

“The changes to the Highway Code are well-intentioned, offering clarity on who has priority and when. If drivers comply, Britain’s roads will be safer for everyone. But it’s a concern that most drivers admit they are not fully aware of the new rules and how they directly affect them.

More publicity around the Highway Code rule changes are clearly needed to make sure everyone understands the new hierarchy and that vital road safety messages get through to all road users.”

If you or a loved one has been injured in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault, Novum Law’s expert personal injury solicitors might be able to help. With many years of experience, we offer specialist legal advice and help secure you compensation on a  ‘No Win No Fee’ basis

To book a free, no obligation chat with us, call 0800 884 0777, email or complete our online enquiry form.

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