What is the Highway Code?

Want to learn more about the highway code? Discover a variety of methods to help you top-up your understanding.


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Nov 1st, 2022

If you’re learning to drive or are a newly qualified driver you’ll need no introduction to the Highway Code - it plays a major part in helping you pass your driving test. Subject to parliamentary approval it’s set to change on January 29th, with some new rules and updated ones:


  • Laws regarding mobile phone use tightened
  • Hierarchy of road users created to protect vulnerable road users
  • Pedestrians and horse riders to have more priority
  • More care for cyclists
  • Clearer rules on positioning for cyclists and cycle lanes
  • No flashing lights at pedestrians
  • Introduction of the ‘Dutch Reach’
  • Increased powers for local councils to fine you
  • Increase in road tax
  • Nurses can decide if you are fit to drive
  • All new properties to feature EV (electric vehicle) chargers
  • More cities becoming ‘Clean Air Zones’

Getting to know the Highway Code isn’t just an essential part of passing your test, though. It’ll also help you become a better driver and avoid fines, tickets, penalty points on your driving licence, as well as criminal charges. All things that can seriously harm your chances of finding affordable car insurance.

If you know your Highway Code you’re likely to be a safer driver - safer drivers can earn greater discounts with Marmalade. That’s thanks to our Black Box Insurance which benefits from black box technology, allowing you to review your journeys and improve your driving skills.

What’s in the Highway Code?

There are 315 (8 new in 2022, 47 amended)rules listed in the Code at the moment which includes rules for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists as well. These are broken up into useful sections, like general rules of the road, vehicle maintenance, and road signs so that road users are aware of their responsibilities.

Don’t be daunted by the big number! Much of the information contained in the Code is simply good common sense - e.g. no reversing into a side road  - you’ll be surprised by just how much of it you’re already familiar with.

It includes essential information you need to drive safely on all British roads from country lanes to a dual carriageway, including awareness of oncoming traffic, speed limits, the meaning of road markings, vehicle markings, level crossings, and more - all of which you’ll need to know to pass your driving test.


what is the highway code


Where can I buy Highway Code?

In print

Still the most popular way to read the Highway Code and handy to take with you, wherever you go, for easy reference and revision! . For just a couple of quid you can pick one from most major bookshops or online

Remember to buy the most up to date version available, as it’s constantly revised, and you want the information you’re learning to be relevant to the latest Driving Theory Tests.

Kindle and online

You can read, download and print the latest version of the Code online for free on the GOV.uk website. If you have a Kindle or eReader, you can also download the latest eBook version for around £2, making it easy to make notes and highlight passages on the go.

Phone and Social media

Since 2011 the Highway Code has had its own Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can keep up to date with the latest revisions and ask questions. You can also download the Highway Code app for your smartphone for all the latest rules at your fingertips - there’s even a “test yourself” facility that’s really handy too.


Official DVD and book packs, as well as CD-Roms, are available to make swotting up more fun - you can take interactive Highway Code tests and keep tabs on your progress more easily. Driving Test Success offer various resources designed to help you through your theory test.

Did you know?

  • The first Highway Code was published in 1931 - and included advice for drivers of horse drawn vehicles
  • It was 18 pages long, compared to 160 pages in the 2016 edition
  • It’s regularly updated to reflect current driving laws, technology and practices
  • The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales, with a different version of the Code available for Northern Ireland
  • It has saved countless lives - when first launched in 1931, there were just 2.3 million motor vehicles in the UK, but over 7,000 people were killed in road accidents each year. Today more than 27 million vehicles drive on British roads, with 1,713 people killed on the roads in 2013 - the lowest on record

Handy information for New Drivers

The GOV.co.uk website also includes the Safety Code annex to the Highway Code, especially for newly qualified drivers. Check it out here – it contains useful, common sense tips to help you get through the first year after you pass your test as safely as possible.

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