The UK Rules
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General Advice

Advice About Highway Code

A general guidance section answering many common questions about how to drive with reasonable consideration for other road users.


Highway Code General Rules

Rule 144: Road users MUST NOT;

• drive dangerously
• drive without due care and attention
• drive without reasonable consideration for other road users

Rule 145: Motorists MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway. The exceptions include gaining lawful access to property and in emergency situations.

Adapt Your Driving

Rule 146: You should also adapt the way you drive to the appropriate type and condition of road you are on. This includes but is not limited to the following advice;

Show Consideration

Rule 147: Be considerate and careful towards all types of traffic and while driving at vulnerable situations, especially around those road users requiring extra care, such as near children, pedestrians, cyclists, and where there may be animals in the road.

Use Safe Driving Techniques

Rule 148: Safe driving and riding needs concentration so avoid the common distractions when driving or riding which include;

You MUST NOT smoke in public transport vehicles or in vehicles used for work purposes in certain prescribed circumstances. Separate regulations apply to England, Wales and Scotland.

In England and Wales, the driver MUST NOT smoke or allow anyone to smoke in an enclosed private vehicle carrying someone under 18, including motor caravans.

Mobile Phones and In-vehicle Technology

Rule 149: All motorists MUST exercise proper control of their vehicle at all times and MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver. The exception could be to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop.

You should never use a hand-held microphone when driving and using hands-free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road. Instead, consider finding a safe place to stop first or use the voicemail facility and listen to messages later. It is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving or riding.

Rule 150: In-vehicle systems such as satellite navigation systems, congestion warning systems, PCs, multi-media, and others pose a danger of driver distraction. You MUST exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times.

You should not rely implicitly on driver assistance systems such as cruise control or lane departure warnings. These devices are available to assist you but they should not reduce your roadworthy awareness and concentration levels.

Find a safe place to stop to avoid being distracted by maps or screen-based information (such as navigation or vehicle management systems) while driving or riding.

Slow-moving Traffic

Rule 151: Do not block access to a side road. When you are involved in traffic which is slow-moving, you should;

Driving in Built-up Areas

Residential Streets

Rule 152: You should drive slowly and carefully on residential streets or streets where there are likely to be pedestrians, cyclists and parked cars. A maximum speed limit of 20 mph (32 km/h) may be in force in some residential areas. You should be alert and look out for;

Traffic Calming Measures (chicanes)

UK Highway Code - Traffic-calming Measures (chicanes)Rule 153: Some roads have traffic-calming measures which are features such as road humps, chicanes, or a narrowing of the road.

As a rule, traffic-calming measures and chicanes are intended to slow you down. You should reduce your speed when you approach these features and always allow cyclists and motorcyclists sufficient room to pass through them.

Maintain a reduced speed along the whole of the stretch of road within the calming measures and give way to oncoming road users if directed to do so by the signage. You should not overtake other moving road users while in these areas.

Country Roads

Rule 154: Take extra care on country roads and reduce your speed at approaches to bends, junctions and turnings. The bend can be sharper than it appears or side roads may be partially hidden. Be prepared to slow down for pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, slow-moving farm vehicles, or mud on the road surface. Make sure you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear and reduce your speed where country roads enter villages.

Rule 155: Single-track roads are typically only wide enough for one vehicle to pass through and they may have special passing places. If you see a vehicle coming towards you, or the driver behind wants to overtake, pull into a passing place on your left, or wait opposite a passing place on your right.

Give way to vehicles coming uphill whenever you can and if necessary, reverse until you reach a passing place to let the other vehicle pass. Slow down your speed when passing pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Rule 156: You should avoid parking where vehicles overtake. Do not park in passing places.

Vehicles Using Roads and Pavements

Rule 157: There are some motorized vehicles which do not meet the construction and technical requirements for road use. These vehicles are generally not intended, or suitable, and certainly not legal for using on roads, pavements, footpaths, cycle paths or bridleways.

Typically, they include most types of miniature motorcycles (aka mini motos), and motorised scooters (aka go peds), which are powered by electric or internal combustion engines. These types of vehicle MUST NOT be used on the road, pavement, footpath or bridleway.

Rule 158: Certain models of motorcycles, motor tricycles and quadricycles, also called quad bikes, do not meet legal standards for use on roads and are suitable only for off-road use.

Any vehicle that does not meet the required standards MUST NOT be used on roads in the United Kingdom. They MUST NOT be used on pavements, footpaths, cycle paths or bridleways either. It is also your responsibility to determine, and you MUST make sure, that any motorcycle, motor tricycle, quadricycle or any other motor vehicle meets legal standards and is properly registered, taxed and insured before using it on the roads. Nevertheless, certain vehicles MUST NOT be used on pavements even when they have been registered, taxed and insured.

Highway Code of Practice General Advice; UK Rules Updated 2017