Highway Code 2022 rule changes – 8 MAJOR changes all drivers must know; phone laws, vehicle hierarchy, cyclists & doors

THERE are major changes happening to the Highway Code from next week.

The new rules are split into three main categories and ultimately aim to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

The biggest change is the new rule around a "hierarchy of vehicles", which means from next week the more damage a vehicle can do, the more responsibility you have to ensure they don't put less-threatening road vehicles at risk.

In effect this means car drivers now have much more responsibility to ensure cyclists' safety on the road.

Read our Highway Code live blog below for more rules and live updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    Three offences that could land you in prison

    Causing death by dangerous driving

    14 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification (minimum 2 years)

    3 to 11 points (if exceptionally not disqualified)

    Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs

    14 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification (minimum 2 years)

    3 to 11 (if exceptionally not disqualified)

    Dangerous driving

    2 years’ imprisonment / Unlimited fine / Obligatory disqualification

    3 to 11 (if exceptionally not disqualified)

    These have always been laws and are not part of the new changes

  • John Hall

    What are the rule changes?

    The first change is to the "hierarchy of road users"; a concept that has been brought in to rank those who are at a higher risk in the event of an accident.

    The next rule change is aimed at horse riders and cyclists too. If a pedestrian is waiting to cross at a junction and a driver is turning, they must give way to the pedestrian.

    Another major change is around the clarity of where cyclists are able to ride on the road. Now, it is acceptable for cyclists to ride in the centre of the road, in some situations.

    Next is the Dutch Reach; a safe way of opening your car door from the inside. If you are the driver, you must now reach across your chest with your left arm to open the door rather than using the hand nearest the door.

    Finally, mobile phones are not allowed to be used at any point while at the wheel, including when stuck in traffic and when stopping at red lights. Taking photos and videos, scrolling through a playlist and playing games will also be prohibited.

    The only exception to these changes is if you need to use your phone to pay for goods at a drive-through or paying for a toll, but only while the car is stationary.

    Changes to the Highway Code are due to come into force on 29 January, so it's important you're aware of them.

  • Louis Allwood

    Will you be fined for breaking the new rules?

    The Highway Code is being revamped with changes kicking in from January 29, 2022.

    Drivers that break the new rules will not necessarily be fined for doing so, but they could be fined if breaching the rules results in you falling into any of the categories in the Highway Code penalty table.

    The penalty table lists the possible offences drivers could commit with the maximum penalty and points that could be handed out.

  • Louis Allwood

    How long does it take to charge an electric car? 

    How long it takes to charge an electric car depends on the size of the battery and the speed of the charging point.

    It could take anything from 30 minutes to 12 hours depending on these factors.

    A typical car with a 6kWh battery takes roughly 8 hours to charge fully with a 7kW charging point.

    We explain if electric cars are exempt from London's ULEZ charges.

    There's seven huge changes drivers need to know about – and one involved cash grants to buy electric cars.

    Here's why road trips in electric cars could pose a safety issue for lone women.

  • Louis Allwood

    Can I charge an electric car at home?

    Yes, owners have always been able to charge their cars at home.

    You'll need an existing regular plug socket or a wall-box home charging unit.

    These charging units, made especially for electric vehicles, deliver around 7kW of power and will charge your car up three times faster than using a regular plug socket.

    You’ll need to pay to install one, but a government grant will fund up to 75 per cent of the cost of purchase, up to a maximum value of £350.

    Charging units cost around £800, according to the RAC – which means you'll need to stump up the rest of the cash needed to get one fitted.

    You'll also need off-road parking like a driveway or garage to charge the car up – this is because running wires across streets means walkers could be at risk of tripping over and councils may have an issue with this.

  • Louis Allwood

    New advice for electric car drivers

    The revised Highway Code, which comes into effect on January 29, will advise electric car drivers on how to safely use the charging points.

    Rule 239 of The Highway Code explains what drivers should do if they have to stop roadside.

    This has now been revised to include guidance on using electric vehicle charging points that are by the kerb.

    Electric car charging points are dotted all around the country with some also inside street lights.

    However, if not used carefully, they can cause a hazard.

    Rule 239 will now say: "When using an electric vehicle charge point, you should park close to the charge point and avoid creating a trip hazard for pedestrians from trailing cables.

    "Display a warning sign if you can. After using the charge point, you should return charging cables and connectors neatly to minimise the danger to pedestrians and avoid creating an obstacle for other road users." 

  • Louis Allwood

    Windscreen wiper mistake that could land drivers with £2,500 fine

    Wiper blades need to be kept in top shape to avoid any windscreen impairments.

    Driving with either blunt or broken wiper blades is classed as driving your car in a dangerous condition.

    This will mean you won't be able to wash you windscreen properly and could affect your driving.

    Section 40a of The Road Traffic Act: Using a Vehicle in a Dangerous Condition Part II says: "A person is guilty of an offence if he uses, or causes or permits another use, a motor vehicle or trailer on a road when the condition of the motor vehicle or trailer, or of its accessories or equipment, is such that the use of the motor vehicle or trailer involves a danger of injury to any person."

    According to The Highway Code, using a vehicle in a dangerous condition is punishable by a fine of up to £2,500.

    Drivers would also be slapped with three penalty points on their licence.

    Offenders that repeat the same or similar offence within three years risk being banned from driving.

    This is a general rule and not part of the new changes.

  • Louis Allwood

    Top tips on defrosting your windscreen during the winter

    Mix up a solution of water with a teaspoon of salt and pour it over icy areas

    A mixture of three parts of vinegar to one part of water will also do the trick

    DON’T pour boiling water onto frozen car windows

    DON’T use anything other than a car-specific scraper to remove the frost

    Prevent windscreen frost by soaking an old towel in a solution made up of water and table salt, or a mix of one part of water and two parts of alcohol, then place it over your car windows the night before.

  • Louis Allwood

    Turning in or out of a junction

    Cars wanting to turn either left or right will now have to give way to cyclists that are riding behind and want to go straight on.

    The new rule says: “You should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles going ahead when you are turning into or out of a junction or changing direction or lane.”

    When a driver is overtaking a cyclist, they must leave a space of at least 1.5 metres at speeds up to 30mph.

    If you’re driving above 30mph, you must give extra space to cyclists although a specific distance has not be laid out.

  • Louis Allwood

    More driving news you need to know

    • Here’s six major changes to the Highway Code in 2022.
    • Drivers warned of £200 fine and six points on their licence for common driving habit.
    • Ten new driving law changes you might not know about.

    The lack of official publicity is “frustrating”

    Provisional DfT figures show 4,290 pedestrians and 4,700 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in the year to the end of June 2021.

    Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at charity Cycling UK, said the changes to the Highway Code will happen “overnight” so the lack of official publicity is “frustrating”.

    This “helps no-one”, he warned. “Neither the walkers and cyclists the rules are meant to protect, nor the drivers who are somehow meant to telepathically know about them.”

    Three extra "H" rules have been brought in

    A "hierarchy of road users" will be brought into place, ranking road users depending on who would be most at risk in terms of an accident.

    Larger vehicles, such as HGVs, are the least at risk but cyclists are the second highest, only after pedestrians who are deemed the most vulnerable.

    Three extra "H" rules have been brought in to clarify the hierarchy.

    Rule H3, aimed at drivers and motorcyclists, says: "You should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary. This includes when cyclists are: 

    • approaching, passing or moving off from a junction 
    • moving past or waiting alongside stationary or slow-moving traffic 
    • travelling around a roundabout 

    Extra clarity has been set out in rule 186 of The Highway Code to reflect any changes.

    No longer will drivers be able to overtake cyclists as they are going around a roundabout.

    They must also make sure they are giving cyclists plenty of room.

    £100 fine for not wearing correct shoes whilst driving in the winter

    Thicker boots may keep your feet warm in the snow but they could get you into trouble and you with a heavy fine if you drive in them.

    While wearing inappropriate shoes to drive isn’t technically illegal, careless driving due to unsuitable footwear can get you into trouble.

    Rule 97 of the Highway Code states that before heading off on a drive, you must ensure that “clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in a correct manner”.

    If you are stopped by the police for careless driving and they decide your footwear caused the problem, you can face up to a £100 on-the-spot fine plus penalty points on your licence.

    If you do need heavier boots for snow or cold weather conditions when you’re out and about, it’s best to take an additional, safer pair of shoes to drive in too.

    This is a general rule and not part of the new changes.

    New Highway Code rule means you could be fined £200 

    Texting and calling are already banned but now, using your phone at all while driving can see you slapped with a fine.

    Transport security Grant Shapps announced the plans for the rule change in November 2021.

    A few grey areas in the rules do not specify whether using your phone to take photos or videos is allowed.

    Rule 149 in the current version of The Highway Code says: "You MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver, except to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop."

    But under the new version, The Highway Code will change to reflect that using a phone at the wheel will be strictly prohibited.

    This includes using your mobile while stuck in traffic or when stopping at a red light.

    Those drivers that like to snap pictures, take videos, play games and scroll through playlists will also be at risk of a fine.

    New hierarchy explained

    There will be a “hierarchy of road users” in the new version of the Highway Code.

    The pyramid will be based on the idea that those who can do the greatest harm – for example, lorry drivers – have the greatest responsibility to avoid hurting others.

    Pedestrians, and especially children, the elderly and other vulnerable people, will be at the top.

    They’ll be followed by cyclists, horse riders, motorcyclists and cars, with vans, HGVs and buses at the bottom.

    Generally the bigger and heavier you are. the more responsibility you have to those smaller and more vulnerable than you.

    It means that it will be clearer who’s at fault, though there are no new offences under the guidance.

    • Louis Allwood

      Highway Code wording explained

      MUST/MUST NOT – Legal requirements, and you're committing a criminal offence if you disobey these rules.

      Should/Should not/ Do/Do not – Advisory wording, and may be used in evidence in court proceedings to establish liability.

    • Louis Allwood

      Seven top tips to reduce your car insurance costs

      Just because the average car insurance premium has shot up more than 10%, doesn't mean there aren't plenty of easy ways to cut the cost of your cover.

      Switch and save

      This is less lucrative than it used to be as insurance providers are no longer allowed to offer introductory deals to new customers.

      But you can still cash in by switching and saving – as long as you do it stat.

      Not all firms have hiked their prices yet.

      Compare the Market estimate the average saving you can get by switching to the cheapest insurance deal is now £127 – up from £95 this time last year.

      Gibbs said: "The savings available to customers looking to switch could reduce significantly as more insurers hike their prices.

      "If your policy is coming up for renewal, it is a good idea to shop around for a better deal as soon as possible."

    • Louis Allwood

      What is the Highway Code?

      The Highway Code is a set of information, rules, laws advice and guides that road users in the United Kingdom must follow.

      The Highway Code's objective is to promote road safety and the Code applies to all road users including pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers.

      Many of the rules are laws and if you are caught breaking them you could land yourself a fine.

      The Highway Code Official websites says: "Many of the rules in The Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence.

      "You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’."

    • Louis Allwood

      Will you be fined for breaking the new rules?

      The Highway Code is being revamped with changes kicking in from January 29, 2022.

      Drivers that break the new rules will not necessarily be fined for doing so, but they could be fined if breaching the rules results in you falling into any of the categories in the Highway Code penalty table.

      The penalty table lists the possible offences drivers could commit with the maximum penalty and points that could be handed out.

    • Louis Allwood

      What is the penalty for speeding?

      The minimum penalty a driver can expect for speeding is a £100 fine and three points on their licence.

      You may be offered a speed awareness course instead of the points on your licence, but you would have to pay for it.

      If you a caught speeding, you will be sent a Notice of Intended Prosecution (NIP) and a Section 172 notice.

      You must send the Section 172 notice back within 28 days, telling the police who was driving the vehicle.

      From there, you will be sent either a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) or a letter telling you to go to court.

      If summoned to court, you may have to pay a larger fine.

      The fine is usually a percentage of your weekly income, up to the amount of £1,000.

      This is a general rule and not part of the new changes.

    • Louis Allwood

      When do the new laws come in to effect?

      The Highway Code is being revamped with changes kicking in from January 29, 2022.

      There are a raft of new rules that all road users need to be aware of – or they risk fines and penalty points on their licence.

      As part of the changes, both cyclists and pedestrians will get extra power on the roads.

      Plus, vehicles will have to give way in new places.

    • Louis Allwood

      Giving way to pedestrians

      Drivers must give way to pedestrians at junctions.

      The Highway Code will state: "At a junction you should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which you are turning."

      Motorists must also let pedestrians cross if they are stuck in traffic or slowly moving.

    • Louis Allwood

      Who gets priority at roundabouts?

      Cyclists and will now be given priority at roundabouts.

      Drivers will not be able to overtake cyclists as they make their way around the roundabout.

      Rule 187 of the Highway Code states: You [drivers] should give priority to cyclists on the roundabout. They will be travelling more slowly than motorised traffic.

      "Give them plenty of room and do not attempt to overtake them within their lane. Allow them to move across your path as they travel around the roundabout.

      "Cyclists, horse riders and horse drawn vehicles may stay in the left-hand lane when they intend to continue across or around the roundabout and should signal right to show you they are not leaving the roundabout.

      "Drivers should take extra care when entering a roundabout to ensure that they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles in the left-hand lane, who are continuing around the roundabout."

    • Joseph Gamp

      How to change your address with the DVLA

      To change the address on your licence, you will need:

      • your driving licence
      • to live in Great Britain
      • to give the addresses you’ve lived at in the previous three years
      • to not be banned from driving

      You can change your address through the website at gov.uk.

      It is also possible to change the address via post.

      To do this, you need to complete the “changes” section on the letter D741 which would have come with your licence.

      If you don’t have your D741, you can fill in a D1 for cars and motorbikes or D2 for lorries and vans.

      These forms can be obtained from any post office.

      Will you be fined for breaking the new rules?

      The Highway Code is being revamped with changes kicking in from January 29, 2022.

      Drivers that break the new rules will not necessarily be fined for doing so, but they could be fined if breaching the rules results in you falling into any of the categories in the Highway Code penalty table.

      The penalty table lists the possible offences drivers could commit with the maximum penalty and points that could be handed out.

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