The Highway Code 2022: What’s new and what’s changing?

The Highway Code 2022: What’s new and what’s changing?

The Highway Code, the official advice and rules guidelines for British road users, has been updated with new rules for 2022.

The advice, information, guides, and mandatory rules for road users in the UK is revised each year to reflect our changing driving habits, technology, and essential updates.

It also features valuable information about road signs, road markings, vehicle markings, and road safety, while there are also details that are relevant for a wide variety of road users, including:

  • Cyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Horse riders
  • Motorcyclists
  • Mobility scooter users
  • Drivers
  • HGV drivers

The Highway Code was first published in 1931 to establish a set of rules for the road, and given the ever-changing nature of vehicles, roads, environments, and society, it’s important that it’s regularly updated and amended.

So, what’s new for 2022?

The most important change for 2022 is the introduction of ‘risk-based hierarchy’, which will give priority to vulnerable road users.

This follows safety concerns about mobile phone use while driving, road users other than those in vehicles, and who is given priority on the roads.

You might be forgiven for thinking that mobile phone use while driving is already illegal – but that’s not quite the case…

When the laws around mobile phone use were first introduced, phones were used almost exclusively for text messaging and making phone calls.

But over the last 20 years, our use of mobile phones and handheld digital devices has evolved to include an extensive array of activities, including:

  • Social media
  • Listening to music, podcasts, and streaming
  • Navigation
  • Playing games
  • Taking photos and videos

Since mobile phones didn’t previously have the capability to do any of these things (and the fact that some of them didn’t exist when the ban on mobile phone use came into force), the rules required updating.

So, the stricter rules on mobile phone use include:

  • Selecting a song on your playlist
  • Playing games on your phone, even when stopped at a red light
  • It will be an offence to take photos and videos

Importantly, if you have your phone on a hands-free device, you WILL still be allowed to use it for directions – this was a hot topic of debate in the run up to the new rules being announced.

Failure to observe any of these rules could land you with a £200 fixed penalty notice AND 6 points on your licence.

The change in the responsibility of motor vehicle drivers means that drivers should always give precedence to pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, and other vulnerable road users.

Drivers should leave at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking cyclists at speeds of up to 30mph, as well as giving them more space when overtaking at higher speeds.

Priority should be given to vulnerable road users when turning into or exiting a road at a junction, which is a key change for ALL road users to be aware of.

What do you think of the changes to the Highway Code for 2022? Do you use a mobile phone while driving for navigation or any other reason? Do you think the changes will make the roads safer? Let us know in the comments below.