Changes to the Highway Code

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Changes to the Highway Code: rules on using motorways 

If you’re learning to drive or ride, you’ll no doubt be studying the Highway Code to learn the rules of the road.  

From today there are changes to the rules on using motorways, so it’s as important as ever that you “check the Code” – and continue to do so on a regular basis. 

For life, not just learners

The rules in the Highway Code are updated when there are changes in the law.   

New rules may be added while you are preparing for your practical test, or after you have passed. There have been 15 changes since 2015 alone. 

That means it’s really important to stay up to date, whether you’ve only had one lesson or held a licence for years. 

Most recent changes 

The changes made as of today refer to guidance on smart motorways. A total of 33 existing rules will be amended and two new rules introduced, with a number of amendments made to the additional information annexes. 

These include:  

  • clearer advice on where to stop in an emergency 
  • the importance of not driving in a lane closed by a Red X 
  • the use of variable speed limits to manage congestion 
  • updated guidance on key factors that contribute to safety-related incidents, including unroadworthy vehicles, tailgating and driving in roadworks 

How to stay updated 


It’s easy to keep up to date with the Highway Code, and any other future changes, online. 

GOV.UK includes a list of the latest updates that have been made, so it’s quick and easy to see what has changed. You can also sign up for email alerts whenever the Highway Code is updated.  

The Highway Code on GOV.UK allows you to: 

  • search for key words and phrases within The Highway Code 
  • quickly move between related rules 
  • follow links to the original laws that the rules are based on 
  • print sections more easily 

There’s also an official Highway Code app.

More ways to stay up to date

You can follow @HighwayCodeGB on Facebook to get regular road safety reminders and news of any updates.  

Future changes and print editions 


Over the coming months we anticipate some further changes to the Highway Code; we will keep you informed of these by email, on GOV.UK and on social media.  

We will write to you again with further details about the next, new printed edition of The Official Highway Code in 2022.  

Thank you for your support, 

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency 

More information 


Check GOV.UK for the latest about: 

Driving In Snow and Ice

Driving in the snow and ice

Driving in the snow and ice only do it if you have to

When driving in snow or ice you should?

Setting off –

We would advise you not to travel in severe weather if you can possibly avoid it.

However, if the journey is unavoidable, there are a few things you should do before each journey in severe weather.

Check your emergency kit.
Check tyres.Check lights and wipers.Clean windscreen, windows and mirrors.
Clear any snow off the roof of the vehicle before you drive away.
Clear any snow and ice from all windows, lights and number plates. Make sure you can see clearly and be seen.
Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged – but don’t use while driving.
Take some food and a warm drink in a flask in case you get stuck.
Don’t forget to take any personal medication too!

Driving through ice and snow

If you find yourself out and about in severe weather conditions:

Make sure the windscreen, back and side windows are thoroughly de-iced on the outside and clear on the inside before setting off. Don’t simply clear a ‘porthole’ to look through.
Lower your speed in poor visibility and poor driving conditions.  It’s better to drive slowly and smoothly to avoid braking sharply.
Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin, without increasing your speed.
Select 2nd gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel spin.
Brake gently to avoid locking the wheels. Get into a low gear earlier than normal and allow the speed of the vehicle to fall gradually.
Maintain at least a 10 second gap between you and the vehicle in front. It takes 10 times further to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road.
Use headlights whenever visibility is reduced – for example, early morning, at dusk, when it’s raining or in any gloomy conditions.
Don’t dazzle others with your main beam.
When driving downhill, choose second or third gear to prevent skidding.
Take corners very slowly and steer gently and steadily, rather than with jerky movements, to avoid skidding.
Never brake if the vehicle skids. Instead, ease off the accelerator and steer slightly into the direction of the skid until you gain control.
If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.
If your vehicle breaks down, pull off the road as far as possible and switch on the hazard warning lights.


Look out for winter service vehicles spreading salt or using snow ploughs.
Maintain a safe distance behind salting vehicles. They have flashing amber beacons and travel at slower speeds – around 40mph.
Do not overtake unless it is indicated as safe to do so – there may be uncleared snow on the road ahead.

Travel warnings are broadcast on local TV and Radio and – also check Gloucestershire live weather and Worcester weather websites for the latest weather and road closures in your area.

The Dutch Reach

We Teach The Dutch Reach!

The Dutch Reach

The Dutch Reach is a simple change of habit that can save lives.

Every year, at least 500 people across England, Wales and Scotland are injured when someone opens a car door into their path – but the actual figure is much higher, as many collisions aren’t reported.  

The Dutch Reach encourages you to open your car door safely. Instead of using the hand closest to the door, reach across with the hand furthest from the door – your left hand if you’re a driver (in the UK).  By using the Dutch Reach, you naturally turn your body towards the window, helping you spot approaching cyclists and other oncoming traffic. It also allows you to open the door slowly and carefully, rather than swinging it open in one movement. Save lives and #TeachTheReach This educational film was produced by Cycling UK in partnership with Uber.  

For more information head to:  This film is freely available in 2D and as a VR film online and to driving schools, police, road safety partnerships, local authorities and schools, colleges and universities. We want to ensure that as many people as possible learn and adopt the Dutch Reach. Please contact campaigns[at] for more information and for copies of the film.


July 2024