The New Highway Code Rules for UK HGV Drivers
The Highway Code is a series of essential rules for all road users including HGV drivers, car drivers, motorcyclists, horse riders, cyclists, mobility scooter users and pedestrians. Each group of road users must follow a specific series of rules to ensure safety for all.
As of 29th January 2022, a number of significant changes have been made to the Highway Code, affecting road users from pedestrians to container haulage drivers. In total, 50 rules were added or amended in the latest revision.
What Are the New Highway Code Rules for 2022?
The biggest addition to the Highway Code involves three new rules outlining the “hierarchy of road users”; a concept that puts road users in order of most to least at risk:
Rule H1: Hierarchy of Road Users
Since heavy goods vehicles (HGV) tend to be large in size, they pose a greater threat to H1 road users. Drivers of these vehicles have the greatest responsibility to reduce danger to more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.
Rule H2: New Priority for Pedestrians at Junctions
This rule stipulates that cyclists, motorcyclists and drivers should give way to pedestrians who are crossing or waiting to cross a road from which or into which you are turning, and that you should give way to pedestrians waiting at a zebra crossing (currently, this only applies if they are already crossing). It also applies to pedestrians and cyclists waiting to cross parallel parking.
Rule H3: Priority for Cyclists When Cars Are Turning
The new rules state that drivers should not cut across horse riders, horse-drawn vehicles or
cyclists who are going ahead while you are either turning into or out of a junction or changing lane or direction. All road users must give way, whether using a cycle path, track or the road.
Drivers must also not turn at a junction if doing so would cause a cyclist, horse rider or driver of a horse-drawn vehicle travelling straight ahead to swerve or come to a sudden halt. Instead, you must stop and wait for a safe gap wherever necessary.
Why Were These New Highway Code Additions Made?
Figures released by the Department for Transport (DfT) show 4,290 pedestrians and 4,700
cyclists were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads from 2020 to June 2021. For drivers (especially drivers of HGVs posing a greater risk to H1 road users) this means greater
awareness of more vulnerable road users and measures taken to protect them such as:
- Drivers being encouraged to reduce the risk of accidents by opening doors using the
- hand on the opposite side (a technique known as the “Dutch Reach”).
- Drivers no longer having priority at Junctions
- All traffic being required to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross
- Stopping and waiting a safe distance between cyclists at roundabouts or in slow moving traffic
- New priority for cyclists when cars are turning
- Drivers to wait for cyclists to pass in the same way they would motor vehicles
- Drivers to leave a distance of 1.5 metres minimum when overtaking cyclists
What Is the New Highway Code Rule for HGV Drivers?
For drivers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), the same general rules apply as with drivers of other vehicles in H2 categories pertaining to vehicle condition, fitness to drive, alcohol and
drugs, preparation for setting off, towing and loading and seatbelts and child restraints.
All drivers must follow specific rules, such as registering their vehicle with the DVLA. Poor
driving decisions are now also more punishable: as of Spring 2022, local authorities will be
given additional powers enabling them to fine drivers up to £70 for minor traffic offences such as making a U-turn in a prohibited area.
If you’re seeking safe transport for your goods, our experienced general and container haulage drivers can help. Find out more about our operations by getting in touch with us today.