The rules are being introduced on January 29.
The new rules have been split into three main categories and have been introduced to improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.
The first change is to the “hierarchy of road users”; a concept brought in to rank those who are at a higher risk in the event of an accident.
It is no surprise that pedestrians top the group, as they can cause the least harm on the road but are highly vulnerable in an accident.
According to the Highway Code hierarchy, those higher in the list must be vigilant of all those lower in the list.
Drivers of any vehicles deemed to be more dangerous, such as buses and HGVs, must now be extra careful on the roads.
The new Highway Code hierarchy is as follows:
- Horse Riders
- Large passenger vehicles or courier vehicles like buses and HGVs
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.
The updated guidance for people cycling about positioning themselves includes:
- riding in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or road narrowings
- keeping at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them
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.
Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “I’m proud to say we have some of the safest roads in the world, but I’m determined to make them safer still for everyone.
“These updates to The Highway Code will do just that by bringing the rules into the 21st century, encouraging people to respect and consider the needs of those around them, and ensuring all road-users know the rules of the road.”
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