Important Updates to The Highway Code – What You Need To Know

The Highway Code has recently changed to include clearer guidance on the hierarchy of road users, pedestrian crossings, priorities at junctions and more. This guidance is aimed to keep all road users and pedestrians as safe as possible, and as a leading transport compliance company, Total Compliance is here to explain how the rules will affect commercial drivers.

Hierarchy of Road Users

Being considerate to others and being aware of The Highway Code is the responsibility of all road users. However, it is the responsibility of those in charge of vehicles which could cause the greatest harm in a collision who must take the most care to reduce their danger to other road users – with this principle applying especially to HGV drivers and large passenger vehicle drivers.

The hierarchy of road users is listed below, with those who can do the greatest harm and who therefore have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to other users at the bottom of the list, and those who pose the least danger at the top:

  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Horse riders
  • Motorcyclists
  • Cars/taxis
  • Vans/minibuses
  • Large goods and passenger vehicles

Pedestrians Crossing the Road

Updates to The Highway Code also include new rules regarding giving way to pedestrians crossing. The new rules state you should give way to pedestrians who are crossing or waiting to cross a road into which or from you are returning, and that you must give way to pedestrians on a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing.

You should also give way to pedestrians waiting to cross a zebra crossing, and to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross a parallel crossing.

Turning In or Out of a Junction with Cyclists

New guidance has been included in the updated Highway Code which state that drivers should not cut across cyclists, horse-drawn vehicles or horse riders going ahead when you are turning in or out of a junction, changing direction, or changing lane. Doing so could cause the other party to stop suddenly or swerve, and could lead to an accident.

Instead of turning into an oncoming cyclist, horse-drawn vehicle or horse rider who is going ahead, drivers should stop and wait for a safe gap in the flow of traffic.

What Are My Responsibilities?

It is important for all road users to be aware of the new Highway Code which was updated on January 29 2022, as some of the new guidance is legally enforceable. It is a common opinion that the Code is simply guidance, but disobeying some of these rules is in fact a criminal offence.

For HGV drivers and other drivers of large commercial vehicles, it is your responsibility to take care and reduce the risk of danger to other road users by driving carefully and treating other road users with respect. Although not all rules in the Code are law, if you break them, they could be quoted in court to establish liability in the case of an accident.

About Total Compliance

Total Compliance is an industry specialist offering a range of services to the transport and construction sectors, including the provision of training and advisory solutions on a consultancy basis. From Transport Compliance Auditing  and FORSCLOCS and CHAS accreditation to ALLMIOLAT and Forklift training, we’ve got you covered! For more information about our training, compliance and accreditation services, get in touch today by calling 0345 9001312, emailing or completing our contact form.