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New Highway Code Rules You Need To Know

by : Hannah Smith on :
New Highway Code Rules You Need To Know
New Highway Code Rules You Need To Know (Alamy)

New updates to the Highway Code come into force tomorrow, January 29, bringing with them some changes that motorists (and pedestrians) will need to be aware of.

Most of the changes won't be news to safe drivers, with a lot of the new rules formally bringing common sense driving under the law.

Driver on phone (Alamy)
Driver on phone (Alamy)
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For example, from tomorrow, January 29, new laws regarding the use of mobile phones while driving come into force that make it a criminal offence to use your phone for any reason while driving, whether that's changing music or taking a photo.

Most of us should know not to do that anyway, but previously the Highway Code only specified that drivers shouldn't use their phones to text or call while driving, with the law dating back to a time when phones had more limited capabilities.

Now, being caught using your phone while driving could see you facing a £200 fine and even points on your licence.

Other laws officially introduced from today include a ban on throwing cigarette butts out of your car, which carries a potential fine of between £50 and £100, and even having a dirty car, with the new Code stating that 'lights, indicators and number plates must be kept clean and clear' if drivers want to avoid being slapped with a £1,000 fine.

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Of the eight most notable changes the government wants road users in Britain to be aware of, the majority involve updates to the way cyclists are treated and are expected to behave on the roads.

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For example, cyclists are now advised to cycle in the middle of their lanes when in quiet traffic so as to be more visible to cars approaching from behind, and are also told to keep at least a 0.5 metre distance from the kerb during busier times.

Cyclist (Alamy)
Cyclist (Alamy)

In addition, car drivers will now be advised to leave a wider gap when passing cyclists (1.5 metres) or horse riders (2 metres) in the road, should now also prioritise cyclists when at a roundabout, and should also change the way they get out of their cars so as to be more aware of cyclists that might be passing them.

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The government says that these changes, which are set to alter the hierarchy of road users, are 'designed to enhance safety for all road-users – particularly those most at risk'.

In 2020, there were 1,460 fatalities due to road incidents in Great Britain, a decrease of 17% compared with 2019.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism and culture.

Topics: News, UK News, Cars