What HGV Operators need to know about the New Highway Code Changes

The Highway Code was updated on 29th January 2022 to include new rules for responsibility when driving vehicles. It is called The Hierarchy of Road Users.

Hierarchy of Road Users

The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ Rule H1 ensures that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to other road users.

The objective of the hierarchy is to give priority to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders in certain situations, and to ensure a more mutually respectful and considerate culture of safe and effective road use between them and vehicle drivers that benefits all users.

This means that HGV drivers, PCV drivers, Van drivers and Car drivers now have more responsibility to avoid collisions with Vulnerable Road Users.

It is particularly important for HGV and PCV operators to raise the awareness of this new rule to ensure your drivers give way to all road users. Under the new hierarchy everyone is expected to behave responsibly when using the road, adjusting their driving to fit in with the new priorities for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists.

What the new Hierarchy rules say

Rule H1 – New Hierarchy of Road Users      

  • Drivers who can cause the greatest harm in the event of a collision bear the greatest responsibility to take care of other road users

  • Meaning drivers of commercial vehicles should look out for and provide a safe environment for all other road users

  • The bigger your vehicle the more responsible you are

Rule H2 - New priority for Pedestrians at Junctions

Rule h2 Highway Code

  • Drivers, motorcyclists, and cyclists should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross a road into which you the driver or rider is turning

  • Give way to pedestrians waiting to use a zebra crossing

  • Give way to pedestrians and cyclists wanting to cross a parallel crossing

Rule H3 - New priority for Cyclists when cars are turning

Rule H3 Highway Code

  • Drivers should not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles when turning into or out of a junction, or changing direction or changing lane

  • Drivers should not turn at a junction if this would cause a cyclist, horse rider or horse drawn vehicle to swerve

Drivers should always stop and wait patiently for a safe gap to turn

Staying Safe with the new Highway Code Changes

New Highway Code Rules mean as your drivers are Professional Drivers of Commercial Vehicles they must:

  • Always stop and wait patiently for a safe gap before turning

  • Increase their gap even when travelling slowly in towns to avoid being involved in a rear end shunt

  • Be vigilant for pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders, horse drawn vehicles undertaking and overtaking them as they prepare to turn either left or right into junctions

  • Be vigilant when entering a roundabout to ensure they do not cut across cyclists, horse riders or horse drawn vehicles in the left-hand lane, who are continuing around the roundabout (Rule 186)

  • Allow 1.5 metres (2 metres guide for HGVs) to overtake cyclists when travelling at less than 30 miles an hour, and only overtake when it is safe to do so (Rules 166 & 167)

  • Allow 2 metres to overtake cyclists when travelling at more than 30 miles an hour, and only overtake when it is safe to do so (Rules 166 & 167)

  • Allowing at least 2 metres (6.5 feet) of space and keeping to a low speed when passing people walking in the road (for example, where there’s no pavement)

As Professional Drivers  it’s important that they know that cyclists are now guided to:

  • Ride in the centre of their lane on quiet roads, in slower moving traffic and at the approach to junctions or where roads narrow

  • Keep at least 0.5 metres (just over 1.5 feet) away from the kerb edge (and further where it is safer) when riding on busy roads with vehicles moving faster than them

  • Be considerate of the needs of other road users when riding in groups

  • Ride 2 abreast, as it can be safer to do so, particularly in larger groups or when accompanying children or less experienced riders

As your drivers are seen as the professionals on the road they should look out for and provide a safe environment for all other road users.

To get our free e-learning Highway Code 2022 Update Course please use this link  

Sources | Highway Code Ruleh1-3 | Highway code rules 159-203

Published | February 2022