4 February 2022
What Are the New 2022 Highway Code Changes?
You may have heard there are major changes to the highway code, however you may not be aware of what the changes are. These have been in effect since January 29th, 2022.
What Are the 2022 Highway Code Changes?
Why is this important to drivers?
Not abiding by the Highway Code could mean fines of up to £1000 for drivers. Drivers will have a bigger responsibility to protect other road users.
Aims of the changes
The changes look to reduce serious accidents and injuries involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians.
Rule H1: New hierarchy of road users
Drivers of vehicles which cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care and reduce danger to others. This principle applies most strongly to drivers of HGVs, LGVs, cars/taxis, and motorcycles.
Rule H2: New priority for pedestrians at junctions
At a junction, drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders, and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from which the driver is turning. The driver should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing (currently you only have to give way if they’re already on the crossing), and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.
Vehicles and cyclists should give way to pedestrians waiting to cross at a zebra or junction.
Rule H3: New priority for cyclists when cars are turning
Drivers should not cut across cyclists, horse riders, or horse-drawn vehicles going ahead when the driver is turning into or out of a junction, or changing direction or lane. This applies whether they are using a cycle lane, a cycle track, or riding ahead on the road.
The driver should give way to them. Drivers must not turn at a junction if to do so would cause the cyclist, horse rider, or horse-drawn vehicle going straight ahead to stop or swerve.
Example: Drivers should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of cyclists if necessary.
Hierarchy of Road Users
Highway Code Changes: New Hierarchy of Road Users
The changes place those who can do the greatest harm with the greatest responsibility to reduce danger to others and protect the must vulnerable.
The new rules place more accountability on drivers, such as drivers of heavy goods vehicles and passenger vehicles, minibuses, cars, and motorcycles to take actions which protect more vulnerable road uses, e.g. cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders.
The ruling has categoriesed each road user in terms of how much ‘right of way’ and importance they have as road users.
Those road users lower down the list are seen to be those at a lesser risk of injury or death due to vehicle size (and therefore protection) they have. For example, a driver of an articulaed lorry will be expected to give additional due care and attention to a motorcyclists.
- Cars & Taxis
- Vans & Minibuses
- Large Passenger Vehicles & Heavy Goods Vehicles
In summary, the new rules place emphasis on this hierarchy applying most strongly to drivers of heavty goods vehicles and passenger vehicles, vans, minibuses, cars, and motorcycles.
Likewise, cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse-drawn vehicles have a greater responsibility to reduce dangers posed to pedestrians.
The Dutch Reach
The Dutch Reach method is a safe way of opening a car door from the inside. It makes sure people are checking all of their surroundings and blind spots before opening the door. It is one of the several changes to the Highway Code introduced in January 2022.
How to perform the Dutch Reach technique
When opening a vehicle door from inside, reach across with your arm furthest away from the door. For example, drivers would use their left hand to open their door and passengers in the front would use their right hand. This forces you to twist and then look over your shoulder, enabling you to see anyone or anything in your blind spot.