At the last count, there were 38.2 million registered vehicles on the road, a figure that has increased every year since the end of World War II! But, as we all know, driving comes with great responsibility and skill. Of course, no one is perfect but here are the top five Highway Code rules most commonly ignored by the everyday driver…
1. Double white lines in the centre of the road
When the white line nearest to you in the middle of the road is solid, it means you shouldn’t cross it. There are a few exceptions where you can cross the line, including safely overtaking a bicycle, horse or road maintenance vehicle travelling 10 mph or less. You can also cross the line if you’re entering a side road or an adjoining premises.
Even though undertaking isn’t specifically ‘illegal,’ it can constitute as ‘dangerous driving’ if you’re in a collision…and that can come with heavy consequences. Undertaking is where a driver overtakes another vehicle on the left-hand side. This is only ever acceptable if the left lane on a multi-lane carriageway is moving faster than the right or if the vehicle you want to overtake is signalling to turn right.
3. Speed limits
Unfortunately, some drivers still don’t stick to the speed limit. The speed limit signs are there for a good reason – for your own safety, as well as other drivers and pedestrians. It’s also a good idea to reduce your speed further when the weather conditions and visibility is poor. Speed limits also vary depending on the type of vehicle you’re driving. For example, if you’re driving a car towing a caravan / trailer or a heavy goods vehicle on a motorway then you should drive 10 mph slower than the 70 mph speed limit.
4. Red ‘x’ signs on the motorway
A survey but the RAC revealed that over one-fifth of drivers admitted to driving in a closed motorway lane. The red ‘x’ sign above a motorway lane signifies that it’s closed due to a number of factors such as maintenance or an accident. People who drive in the closed lanes are at great risk of colliding with a road maintenance vehicle, a broken down vehicle or an emergency service worker. RAC spokesperson Simon Williams commented, “Our research found drivers understand very clearly what red Xs mean, yet worryingly far too many appear to have driven under one, dramatically putting themselves at risk of encountering a stationary vehicle or a worker in their path, and all the horrific consequences that could have.
5. Honking the horn
Even though it’s only natural to honk your car’s horn when you’re frustrated at other drivers, you should only use the horn while your vehicle is moving and when you need to let other road users know you’re there. The Highway Code states “Never sound your horn aggressively. You MUST NOT use your horn while stationary on the road or when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am except when another road user poses a danger.”
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