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Highway Code Signalling and Signals

This section covers the rules for giving signals and signalling to other traffic. Check the techniques of how to make a proper signal to road users.

SIGNALS TO OTHER ROAD USERS: Knowing how to signal to other motorists is important reading for all drivers.

While using the road, you will be signalling to motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians, and even horse riders.

Making Highway Code Signals

The regulations do not necessarily give anyone the right of way in any circumstance. But, the laws make it clear when you should give way to others who are driving or riding motorbikes.

The safest advice is to give priority to other motorists if doing so will help to avoid a serious incident.

Rule 103: Drivers and riders should make proper Highway Code signals to warn nearby traffic that you are intending to change course or direction. This includes providing directional information of your intended motions to other road users and pedestrians. Motorists should always:

  • Give clear signals and use direction indicators in plenty of time.
  • Check it is not misleading to signal at the time.
  • Use signals to advise other road users before changing course, direction, stopping or moving off.
  • Cancel the signalling devices after use.
  • Apart from using direction indicators, there are other ways you can give signals. Use an arm signal to other road users to emphasize or reinforce the signalling from the vehicle if necessary.

Note: Remember that signalling to other road users does not give you priority. Try to ensure that your signals will not confuse others (e.g. not signaling too early or too late).

Brake Light Signal

What color are your brake lights? The colour of automotive lighting used when applying the brakes is red and ‘steady-burning’.

This helps to establish and differentiate braking lights from rear position lights and vehicle turn signal lights.

The brake lights on your vehicle warn traffic behind you that your intention is to slow down.

Rule 104: Motorists should also be observant for signals given by other road users. You should proceed only when you are satisfied that it is safe to do so. Be aware that an indicator on another vehicle may still be flashing because it did not get cancelled properly.

Signals Used by Authorized Personnel

Rule 105: Motorists MUST obey all signals given by police officers, traffic officers, traffic wardens. It also applies to road safety signs used by the majority of school crossing patrols.

Police Stopping Procedures

Rule 106: It may happen that police officers want you to stop your vehicle. As a rule, they will attract your attention by any or all the following methods:

  • Flashing blue lights or the police vehicle headlights.
  • Sounding the car siren (or horn) and usually from a position behind you.
  • Directing you to pull over to the side by pointing or using the left indicator signal.

In the United Kingdom, the rules for police stopping procedures say you MUST pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so. When your vehicle is stationary you should then switch off your car engine.

Highway Code Signalling: Giving Signals to other Road Users