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HIGHWAY CODE (UNITED KINGDOM)

When I had the idea to include some information on the Highway Code I decided it was too "British" and would not be of any interest to any other visitors.  It has since been pointed out to me, however, that many tourists visiting the U.K. hire cars during their holiday and, therefore, this information may be of interest.

As you can imagine the "Highway Code" is quite a tome which changes on a regular basis so it is best to check it on a regular basis in order to keep up to date with all the latest changes

I will start with a few things to remember as pedestrians as these are things every driver should also needs to know.

PEDESTRIANS

Crossings

When using any type of crossing you should -

  • always check that the traffic has stopped before you start to cross or push a pram onto a crossing.

  • always cross between the studs or over the zebra markings.

  • Do not cross at the side of the crossing or on the zig-zag lines, as it can be dangerous.

  • You must not loiter on zebra, pelican or puffin crossings.

Zebra Crossings

Give traffic plenty of time to see you and stop before you start to cross, remembering they will need more time when the road is slippery.   Traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing.  Wait until the traffic has stopped in BOTH directions and keep watching both ways in case a driver attempts to overtake a vehicle that has stopped.

Remember - when there is an island in the middle of a zebra crossing, the second half should be treated as a separate crossing.

Traffic Lights

Some traffic lights have special lights for pedestrians.  Only cross when the green figure is showing.  Do not start crossing if the green figure is "flashing".

Pelican Crossings

These are signal controlled crossings operated by pedestrians.  Push to control button to activate the traffic signals. Do not cross when the red figures is showing.  When the steady green figure is showing, check all traffic has stopped then cross with care.  Do not start to cross if the green figure is flashing.

At some pelican crossings there is a bleeping sound to indicate to blind or partially sighted people that the steady green figure is showing and, therefore, it should be safe to cross.

When the road is congested, traffic on your side of the road may be forced to stop even though their lights are green.  Traffic may still be moving on the other side of the road so press the button and wait for the signal to cross.


SEAT BELTS REQUIREMENTS FOR CARS AND SMALL MINIBUSES

Drivers MUST wear seat belts at all times (if fitted).

Children under 3 years of age if travelling in the front seat MUST wear an appropriate child restraint.

Children under 3 years of age if travelling in a rear seat must wear an appropriate child restraint (if available).

Children aged 3 to 11 and under 1.5 metres (approx. 5ft) in height if travelling in the front seat MUST wear an appropriate child restraint if available.  If this is not the case then an adult seat belt MUST be worn.

Children aged 3 to 11 and under 1.5 metres (approx. 5ft) in height if travelling in the rear seat MUST wear an appropriate child restraint if available.  If this is not the case then an adult seat MUST be worn (if available).

Children aged 12 or 13 or a younger child over 1.5 metres in height travelling in the front seat or rear seat MUST wear an adult seat belt (if available).

IN THE ABOVE CASES IT IS THE DRIVER'S RESPONSIBILTY TO ENSURE THIS IS CARRIED OUT.

  • Passenger over the age of 14 travelling in the front or rear seat MUST wear a seat belt (if available).

THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PASSENGER


ALCOHOL

Although it is safest not to drink at all when driving as it will seriously affect judgement and abilities (whatever we all may think), the current law in the U.K. is that you MUST NOT drive with a breath alcohol level higher than 35/100ml or a blood alcohol level of more than 80mg/100 ml.

SPEED LIMITS

You MUST NOT exceed the maximum speed limits for the road and for your vehicle.  Street lights usually mean that there is a 30 mph speed limit unless there are signs showing otherwise.

These are the notional speed limits and apply to all roads unless signs show otherwise.

** The 30 mph limit applies to all traffic on all roads in England and Wales (and Class C and unclassified roads in Scotland) with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.

TYPE OF VEHICLE BUILT-UP AREAS** SINGLE CARRIAGEWAYS DUAL CARRIAGEWAYS MOTORWAYS
CARS AND MOTORCYLES
(including car derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30 60 70 70
CARS TOWING CARAVANS OR TRAILERS
(including car derived vans and motorcycles)
30 50 60 60
BUSES & COACHES
(not exceeding 12 metres in overall length)
30 50 60 70
GOODS VEHICLES
(not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30 50 60 70*
GOODS VEHICLES
(exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30 40 50 60
* This is reduced to 60 mph if articulated or towing a trailer 

 

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