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What is the Highway Code Law?

The rules of the Highway Code are essential reading for anyone who uses the roads and highways. This guide will help drivers and riders learn to drive and keep all road users safe from accidents.

Important: British Highway Code rules apply in England, Scotland, and in Wales. Some of the road laws differ in Northern Ireland.

Highway Code Rules in the United Kingdom

UK motorists and pedestrians all share a common responsibility – reducing daily road fatalities and serious injuries!

The main purpose of the Highway Code regulations is to reduce road casualties and deaths for drivers and wayfarers on the streets.

Highway Code laws give strict instructions with essential safe driving techniques. Following the rules of the road will meet these objectives.

This section contains invaluable driving rules and safety information for drivers and riders. The same governance also applies to Vulnerable Road Users (e.g. people with reduced mobility and orientation).

Therefore, always use extra caution around small children, older pedestrians, cyclists, non-motorised road users, and horse riders.

Is The Highway Code Law or a Guide?

In fact, the Highway Code wording makes it clear to identify the law. The words of MUST and MUST NOT are the rules.

Disobeying national highway laws is committing a criminal offence. As a rule, it will result in a fine, driver licence penalty points, or a complete disqualification from driving.

Severe prosecutions can result in a prison sentence for offenders. The British Highway Code guidance can also be of use to provide evidence or establish liability in a court of law as per the United Kingdom Road Traffic Acts.

Not passed your driving test yet?

Information and video tips in another section will help you start learning to drive a car one step at a time. Learn how to get your first provisional licence and the different ways of starting driving lessons.

When was the Highway Code Last Updated?

Highways England announced draft guidance for the Highway Code updates 2022 [in June]. The aim of two new rules and 33 amendments is to make the roads safer, by:

  • Simplifying the advice about where motorists should stop in an emergency situation.
  • Emphasising the importance about not driving in a lane closed by a ‘Red X’ symbol.
  • Using variable speed limits to manage road congestion (e.g. around road repairs).
  • Updating the current guidance relating to key factors that contribute to safety-related incidents, including:
    • Driving through roadworks.
    • Driving while tired.
    • Safe towing procedures.
    • Tailgating.
    • Unroadworthy vehicles.

Note: The main driving section contains more advice and information about road transport law and regulations in Britain and Northern Ireland.

Basic Highway Code 2022 (PDF Option)

Adverse Weather

The Highway Code for driving in bad weather conditions is essential reading. The section explains how to drive in snow, fog, in wet and windy weather, and on slippery icy roads.

Animals in the Road

The UK Highways Code of Practice regulate the rules for animals in the road. The laws apply to dogs as well as the horses riding rules on the road.

Before Setting Off

UK Highway Code issues safety standards for drivers before moving off. Take a few moments to conduct a roadworthiness checklist before setting off on a journey.

Note: You can also get traffic information to plan your journey, including information about traffic and roadworks on motorways and A roads in England.

Breakdown Procedures

What should you do if your car breaks down on a public road or on a motorway? The UK Highway Code emergency car breakdown and incidents section has the answers.

Note: Check MOT rules and regulation on exemptions, a retest, and how to appeal if it fails the test.

Cyclists Highway Code

Cycle Riders

The section covers vital information about the Highway Code for cyclists. Extra guidance addresses bike positioning at junctions and crossing busy roads.

Electric Bike Law

Electric bikes, also called a booster bike, use an integrated electric motor for propulsion. Check EAPC road rules and electric bike regulations for riding pedal assist e bikes.

General Road Rules

Assessing Readiness

All motorists should be aware of the Highway Code fitness to drive road rules. They relate to the general readiness needed for safe and legal motoring.

Highway Code Advice

Rules 144 to 154 cover the Highway Code general advice for all motorists. Learn the stopping distances while keeping control of the vehicle in tricky situations.

Lighting Requirements

Review information on UK vehicle lighting requirements for all motorists. Check how and when to use car sidelights, dipped headlights, and hazard warning lights.

Mirrors Signal Manoeuvre

Driving safely and courteously means following the Highway Code. The basic rules for using the road apply to safety checks made before you move off and throughout the full journey.

Multi Lane Carriageway

A section about lane discipline on single carriageway and dual carriageways. The guide also explains road furniture on multi lane carriageways.

Road Markings

Test your knowledge of Highway Code road markings and meanings. Check the rules for solid, broken, white or yellow lines, and lane dividers.

Safe Driving Techniques

A section covering the rules for giving signals and signalling to other road users. Further details cover Highway Code stopping procedures and how DVSA may stop you.

Vulnerable Road Users (VRU)

The Highway Code rules 204 to 225 address situations requiring extra care on the roads. Check out the additional consideration needed by drivers and riders.

Highway Code for Children

The Highway Code for Children is a simplified version of the rules. Parents can use it to teach kids how to cross a road safely.

Mobility Scooters

Read the guidance on mobility scooters Highway Code rules 36 to 46. It explains the use of all types of invalid carriages on the pavements and on the roads.




Crash Helmet Laws

The page explains the key motorcycle helmet laws in Britain and Northern Ireland. It is compulsory for all motorbike riders to wear a safety helmet.

Motorbike Rules

Read through the Highway Code for motorcyclists and for all moped riders. The motorbike Highway Code 2022 also governs pillion passenger rules in the United Kingdom.

Quad Bike Laws

Most quad bikes do not meet road safety standards for the United Kingdom. Find out the quad bikes law for type approval, registration, tax, and MOT (where required).


The Highway Code motorway driving rules cover the procedures for using motorways. Rules 253 to 273 explain the proper use of lanes, signals, and slip road exits.

National Speed Limits

Are you familiar with national speed limits in United Kingdom? The section lists the speeding maximums that apply for safe motoring in ‘optimum conditions’.

Parking Laws

The roadside stop laws and restrictions have severe penalties. Check the Highway Code parking rules near a corner, on the pavement, at a junction, and in front of a driveway.


There are specific rules for pedestrians when using pavements and roadside paths. As a rule, stay away from the kerbside and face forwards towards oncoming traffic.

Roadside First Aid

Rendering first aid at the scene of a road accident saves lives. Follow DR ABC Code Driving Theory until Emergency Medical Service personnel arrive.

Traffic Signs

Learn common signage from a UK road signs PDF with free download option. The knowledge is essential reading for new drivers and riders to pass the driving theory test.

Trams and Tramways

Tramway Rules

A section explaining how to drive near tramcar systems. Special road markings represent the ‘swept path’ for trams and tramways.

Tram Signage

Tram drivers get their instructions from road traffic signals. The signage is usually diamond-shaped tram signs and white light signals.

Vehicle Condition

RVLR 1989

The United Kingdom amended the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations act. The RVLR now cover the legal requirements for the use of headlamps and front fog lamps.

Seat Belts

Under the law, you >MUST wear a seat belt in cars, vans, and other goods vehicles (if fitted). Check a table showing Highway Code seat belts law for child passengers.

Tinted Windows Law

What is the law on tinted vehicle windows and car side glasses? Check the legal tint measurement and the window tinting law in the United Kingdom.

Vehicle Maintenance

Highways Code provides information and rules about vehicle maintenance, safety and security. It includes some general guidance for drivers besides that which they must obey.

Note: The most susceptible victims of road accidents are children, senior citizens, and disabled. Statistics show annual road deaths are falling. The Reported Road Casualties of Great Britain suggest around 1,780 road deaths occur each year.

UK Highway Code Rules of the Road: Safe Driving for Life Guide