Handy Highway Code reminders

We know it’s probably been quite a long time since you last looked at a copy of the Highway Code. But, drivers are being encouraged to stay up-to-date with road laws, including the strange driving laws you might break every day!

So, to help you out, why we’ve put together this handy list of Highway Code reminders of some of the most important things you really should keep in mind every time you get behind the wheel of a car.

Road lines 

Short, broken white lines mean you are allowed to overtake if it is safe to do so. If the lines lengthen, that indicates a hazard ahead and you should only cross it if necessary to turn or it’s safe to overtake. Solid white lines are never to be crossed. 

Flashing your headlights 

You should only ever flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Using them for any other message can be confusing and cause accidents. Never flash your lights to intimidate other road users or to encourage them to make a maneuverer, as that’s incredibly dangerous. It’s also against the law to flash oncoming traffic to warn them of police speed traps. 

car headlights

Speed limits 

Speed limits are the absolute maximum you should travel on that road. But, they’re contextual. If road conditions aren’t ideal, you should only drive as fast as is sensible. 

If you can’t see any speed limit signs, but you can see traffic lights, the speed limit is 30 mph. 

Take a look at the consequences of speeding in the UK. 

Circles give orders 

If you see a road sign and it’s surrounded by a red circle, you have to comply with the information it’s telling you. These are predominantly speed restrictions and they’re there for a very good reason. 

You might also see them with height restrictions in, and you’ll definitely want to change you route if your vehicle exceeds that limit. This is especially important to remember if you’re in a hire van and aren’t used to being in a larger vehicle. 

Overtaking cyclists, bikers and horses 

When you’re overtaking, no matter what the obstacle is, you should always leave as much room as you would for a car. It helps keep everyone on the road safe, and prevents you from making risky manoeuvres on the road. You never know when a cyclist might need to suddenly swerve to avoid a pot hole, drain cover, or wet patch on the road. 

queued traffic with red break lights

Using your hazard lights 

You should only use your hazards when your vehicle is stationary and is going to cause a temporary obstruction to traffic. You can’t use them to excuse illegal or dangerous parking, or as a way to thank other road users for letting you out as you drive. 

Queued traffic 

When you’re in queued traffic, you should apply your parking break rather than continuing to engage your foot break. This will deactivate your break lights and help to minimise distracting glare to road users behind you.

Passing places 

Passing places are never to be used as parking spots. They should only be used for their intended purpose of allowing vehicles to pass on narrow roads. 

Triangles are warnings 

Signs in triangles are always warnings, and you need to use the information they tell you to keep you and your passengers safe. These signs often detail upcoming changes in the road and you’re probably going to need to change your speed to safely negotiate what’s ahead. You don’t legally have to obey, but it’s in your best interest to. 

The exception to this is the ‘give way’ sign, which you’ll see in an upside-down triangle, with the point facing the floor rather than the sky. If you see one of these, you definitely need to prepare to stop, as there’s a potential danger ahead that you’ll need to handle. 

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Now that you've had a refresh of the Highway Code, you're ready to get behind the wheel. Check out our hire cars, vans and minibuses and hit the open road!

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