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How’s My Driving? - Safe Driving Blog Tips

Department for Transport’s £338 million investment to encourage cycling and walking

The Highway Code proposed changes form part of the Department for Transport’s £338 million investment strategy to encourage cycling and walking across the country. Therefore, we expect the new rules and updates to be in line with making the road a safer place for all, especially those traveling by cycle or foot.
One of the most interesting updates the Highway Code has announced is a new "hierarchy of road users", this is designed to ensure that road users who can cause the most harm in a collision bear the "greatest responsibility to reduce the danger they may pose to others". Simply, this means a HGV driver will have a greater responsibility compared to someone driving a car, and people cycling would have a greater responsibility than pedestrians.
The hierarchy is:
  1. pedestrians
  2. cyclists
  3. horse riders
  4. motorcyclists
  5. cars/taxis
  6. vans/minibuses
  7. Large passenger/HGVs
So, the full Highway Code is more than 150 pages long, with over 300 rules, so let’s skip to the new rules for 2021 that you may not be aware of. Both of the new rules are focused on guidance on emergency areas, following concerns about fatalities on smart motorways where there is no hard shoulder.
New rule 270
If you experience one of the following issues:
your vehicle develops problems on the motorway (rule 277)
you wish to re-join the carriageway from an emergency area (278)
You are now required touse the emergency areas which are located along motorways that have no hard shoulder or where the hard shoulder can be used as an extra lane (Rule 269) and MUST only be used in an emergency. They are marked by blue signs with an orange SOS telephone symbol and may have orange surfacing.
New rule 275
If you need to stop your vehicle in the event of a breakdown or incident, it is advised that you try to stop in a place of relative safety. This is defined as a place where you, passengers and vehicle are less likely to be at risk from moving traffic. The safest place to stop would be a service station where there is an area designed for parking, however if this isn’t available other suggestions include:
  • lay-bys
  • emergency areas (Rule 270)
  • hard shoulders (Rule 269) – it should be noted that hard shoulders provide less protection as they are located close to high-speed traffic
Once you and any passengers have safely exited the vehicle and moved to the furthest point away from any traffic, it is suggest you should all:
  • Put on any high-visibility clothing/jacket
  • Get behind a safety barrier if there is one
  • DO NOT stand in a place where your vehicle could be forced into you if moving traffic collides with it
  • DO NOT return to your vehicle even if it’s raining, cold or dark
  • Remain alert and aware of vehicles or debris coming towards you
  • DO NOT place a warning triangle on the carriageway
  • Animals MUST be kept in the vehicle or, in an emergency, under control on the verge or safe area
01 December 2021

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