The Highway Code

Page written by AI. Reviewed internally on May 23, 2024.


The Highway Code is an essential guide for road users in the UK, providing a comprehensive set of rules, advice, and information designed to promote road safety and efficient use of the road network.

What is the Highway Code?

The primary purpose of the Highway Code is to ensure the safety of all road users. It aims to reduce accidents, improbe traffic flow, and encourage polite and lawful road use.

While much of the Highway Code consists of advice and guidance, some rules within it are legal requirements. Failure to comply with these mandatory rules can result in legal consequences:

  • General rules: Basic principles of safe driving and road use, including advice on vehicle maintenance and the importance of staying alert.
  • Driving and motor vehicle rules: Comprehensive rules covering all aspects of driving, from speed limits and road signs to overtaking, roundabouts, and motorway driving.
  • Road signs and markings: Detailed explanations of road signs, signals, and road markings to make sure road users understand and comply with them.
  • Incidents, accidents, and emergencies: What to do in case of an accident or emergency, including first aid tips and how to report incidents.

The Highway Code is periodically updated to reflect changes in traffic laws, emerging safety concerns, and advancements in vehicle technology. These updates ensure that the code remains relevant and effective in promoting road safety.

Additionally, the Highway Code can be used as evidence to establish liability in traffic accidents and other road-related incidents. Courts may refer to it to determine whether a road user acted recklessly or unlawfully.

Example of the Highway Code

Dave, a truck driver for a haulage firm, follows the Highway Code while transporting goods across the country. He carefully plans his route, taking into account road signs, speed limits, and traffic conditions. Along the way, Dave maintains a safe distance from other vehicles, comply with overtaking rules, and uses appropriate signals when changing lanes. By following these guidelines, Dave ensures the safety of himself, his cargo, and other road users, contributing to smooth and efficient transportation operations for his haulage firm.

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