From keeping sheep under control, to not flashing or honking in an intimidating fashion and not being foggy on the rules for lights, knowing The Highway Code ensures drivers are not facing potential fines, penalty points on their licence or even disqualification.
So, here are ten MUST-know Codes for drivers this autumn and winter. Please note, rules identified in The Highway Code by the use of words MUST / MUST NOT are legal obligations.
Can you read a vehicle number plate from 20 metres? If you can’t, it could be illegal for you to drive. You MUST be able to read a vehicle number plate, in good daylight, from a distance of 20 metres. If you need to wear glasses (or contact lenses) to do this, you MUST wear them at all times while driving. The police have the power to require a driver to undertake an eyesight test.
2. Fog Lights
The Rules are Not Foggy on Fog Lights: You MUST switch off front or rear fog lights when visibility improves or face a potential fine. Generally, fog lamps should only be used when visibility drops below 100m.
It Cuts No Ice with the Police: In wintery conditions you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow , ice and condensation from your windows (and clear snow from the roof). You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible.
Park It! You MUST NOT park on a road at night facing against the direction of the traffic flow unless in a recognised parking space.
5. Flashing & Tooting
An aggressive honk or an intimidating flash is not OK: You may only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there and not to convey any other message or intimidate other road users. The horn may only be used when the vehicle is moving and you need to warn other road users of your presence. It must never be sounded aggressively. You MUST NOT use your horn when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30pm and 7.00am except when another road user poses a danger.
6. Lollypop Law
You MUST stop when a school crossing patrol shows a ‘Stop for children’ sign or face a £1000 fine and three penalty points on your licence.
7. Learner Drivers
As well as needing a valid provisional licence, learner drivers MUST be supervised by someone at least 21 years old who holds a full EC/EEA licence for that type of car (automatic or manual) and has held one for at least three years.
8. No Hoofing About
Animals being herded on the road “should be kept under control at all times,” says the Highway Code. This might be moo-t point for the animals’ mind.
9. Belt Up Pets
The Code states that in a vehicle dogs, or other animals, should be “suitably restrained” suggesting a belt harness, pet carriers or a dog crate.
10. Scooter SpeedCheck
Mobility scooters may travel at a maximum of 4 mph (6 km/h) on pavements or in pedestrian areas, and at 8 mph (13 km/h) on the road. Oh, and if they do go on a duel carriageway they MUST have a flashing amber beacon.
Motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, said: “Keeping up to date on the Highway Code is not something many of us do once we’ve passed our test. But when so many of the Code’s rules are legal requirements, motorists not wanting to pick up points or relinquish pounds, would be wise to spend time making sure their road knowledge is up to scratch. The cops and the courts won’t accept ignorance as your defence.”