It doesn’t matter whether you’re a learner driver, a non-driver or you’ve held your full licence for 20 years – everyone needs to know the rules of the road in the Highway Code. Whether you drive a car, a motorbike or you walk– if you’re out on the road, then the rules apply.
There is no doubt that reading the Highway Code can seem like an overwhelming task. We’ve pulled together some important parts to help make it a bit easier to digest like speed limits, legal requirements and the consequences when you do break the rules of the road. So make yourself a cuppa, grab some biscuits and have a scroll through – you may even want to share it with your folks. Remember –the Code isn’t just to help you pass your test, it’s for life.
Drivers & motorcyclists
- If you have a medical condition that can affect your driving, you must notify the DVLA.
- It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- You must have a valid licence for the category of motor vehicle you are driving.
- Your vehicle must have passed an MOT every year, 3 years from its first registration.
- You must have a valid insurance policy covering you on the car you are driving
- The vehicle you are driving must be taxed.
- If there is a pavement, use it. When stepping out into the road, look both ways and make sure it is clear.
- No pavement? Then keep to the right-hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic. Walk single file and keep close to the side of the road.
- Help other road users to see you, by wearing light/bright colours in poor weather conditions, and wear reflective clothing in the dark.
- Wear a helmet.
- Let other drivers see you, by wearing fluorescent/reflective clothing.
- At night – you must have white front and red rear lights lit.
- Where available, use cycle lanes (marked by a white line) along the road.
- Give clear signals of your intentions to other road users.
- You must not cycle on the pavement.
Having read through these points – is there anything on here you didn’t already know? Probably not! The Highway Code is a lot of common sense, but it is essential that we all know and stick to the rules.
Speed limits are marked on each road, to let you know the maximum speed you can drive. If you’re ever in doubt of what speed you can drive then remember – it depends on your surroundings, such as driving through roadworks or being in a built up area with street lights.
|Type of vehicle||Cars & Motorbikes|
|Built up area||30mph|
The speed limit is the absolute maximum speed that you can drive on the road. It does not mean it is always safe to drive at these speeds, and it will depend on various hazards such as:
- Weather conditions
- Sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists
- Driving at night
- The road layout – if there are any hazards
Don’t forget – your stopping distance is also affected by the speed you are driving.
Offences and penalties
Not following the Highway Code can result in penalties, points on your licence about sometimes imprisonment. Have a look through this handy guide to see what could happen if you don’t stick to the rules.
Remember – if you passed your test less than 2 years ago – all you need is 6 licence points before it’s taken away.
|Offence||Maximum penalty||Penalty points|
|No MOT||£1,000 fine||0|
|Using a phone behind the wheel||£1,000 fine||3|
|Driving without insurance||£5,000 fine||3|
|Driving whilst disqualified||6 months in prison – £5,000 fine||6|
|Failing to stop after an accident||6 months in prison – £5,000 fine||5 to 10|
|Driving under the influence of drink or drugs||6 months in prison – £5,000 fine||3 to 11|
|Dangerous driving||2 years in prison – unlimited fine||3 to 11|
This is just a snippet of the Highway Code. In full it is made up of 35 different sections, including; how to drive in adverse weather conditions, knowing your road signs and road markings, motorways and more. It’s worth having the Highway Code to hand – so make sure you get yourself a copy.