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The Annotated

Highway Code

Using the road (159 to 203)

General rules (159 to 161)


Before moving off you should

Move off only when it is safe to do so.

Highway Code - Rule 159 Check The Blind Spot Before Moving Off


Once moving you should


Mirrors. All mirrors should be used effectively throughout your journey. You should

You will need to look round and check.

Remember: Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre

Overtaking (162 to 169)


Before overtaking you should make sure


Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should

Remember: Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre

Highway Code - Rule 163 Give Vulnerable Road Users At Least As Much Space As You Would A Car


Large vehicles. Overtaking these is more difficult. You should

Highway Code - Rule 164 Do Not Cut In Too Quickly


You MUST NOT overtake


DO NOT overtake if there is any doubt, or where you cannot see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe. For example, when you are approaching


DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users. For example


Being overtaken. If a driver is trying to overtake you, maintain a steady course and speed, slowing down if necessary to let the vehicle pass. Never obstruct drivers who wish to pass. Speeding up or driving unpredictably while someone is overtaking you is dangerous. Drop back to maintain a two-second gap if someone overtakes and pulls into the gap in front of you.


Do not hold up a long queue of traffic, especially if you are driving a large or slow-moving vehicle. Check your mirrors frequently, and if necessary, pull in where it is safe and let traffic pass.

Road junctions (170 to 183)


Take extra care at junctions. You should

Highway Code - Rule 170 Give Way To Pedestrians Who Have Started To Cross


You MUST stop behind the line at a junction with a ‘Stop’ sign and a solid white line across the road. Wait for a safe gap in the traffic before you move off.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 16


The approach to a junction may have a ‘Give Way’ sign or a triangle marked on the road. You MUST give way to traffic on the main road when emerging from a junction with broken white lines across the road.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10(1),16(1) & 25


Dual carriageways. When crossing or turning right, first assess whether the central reservation is deep enough to protect the full length of your vehicle.

Highway Code - Rule 173 Assess Your Vehicles Length And Do Not Obstruct Traffic


Box junctions. These have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road (download ‘Road markings’ (PDF, 731KB)). You MUST NOT enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right. At signalled roundabouts you MUST NOT enter the box unless you can cross over it completely without stopping.
Law TSRGD regs 10(1) & 29(2)

Highway Code - Rule 174 Enter A Box Junction Only If Your Exit Road Is Clear

Junctions controlled by traffic lights


You MUST stop behind the white ‘Stop’ line across your side of the road unless the light is green. If the amber light appears you may go on only if you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to stop might cause a collision.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 36


You MUST NOT move forward over the white line when the red light is showing. Only go forward when the traffic lights are green if there is room for you to clear the junction safely or you are taking up a position to turn right. If the traffic lights are not working, treat the situation as you would an unmarked junction and proceed with great care.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 36


Green filter arrow. This indicates a filter lane only. Do not enter that lane unless you want to go in the direction of the arrow. You may proceed in the direction of the green arrow when it, or the full green light shows. Give other traffic, especially cyclists, time and room to move into the correct lane.

Highway Code - Rule 178 Do Not Unnecessarily Encroach On The Cyclists Waiting Area


Advanced stop lines. Some signal-controlled junctions have advanced stop lines to allow cycles to be positioned ahead of other traffic. Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line reached if the lights are amber or red and should avoid blocking the way or encroaching on the marked area at other times, e.g. if the junction ahead is blocked. If your vehicle has proceeded over the first white line at the time that the signal goes red, you MUST stop at the second white line, even if your vehicle is in the marked area. Allow cyclists time and space to move off when the green signal shows.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10, 36(1) & 43(2)

Turning right


Well before you turn right you should


Wait until there is a safe gap between you and any oncoming vehicle. Watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other road users. Check your mirrors and blind spot again to make sure you are not being overtaken, then make the turn. Do not cut the corner. Take great care when turning into a main road; you will need to watch for traffic in both directions and wait for a safe gap.

Remember: Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre

Highway Code - Rule 180 Position Your Vehicle Correctly To Avoid Obstructing Traffic


When turning right at crossroads where an oncoming vehicle is also turning right, there is a choice of two methods

Highway Code - Rule 181 Left Turning Right Side To Right Side Right Turning Left Side To Left Side

Turning left


Use your mirrors and give a left-turn signal well before you turn left. Do not overtake just before you turn left and watch out for traffic coming up on your left before you make the turn, especially if driving a large vehicle. Cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users in particular may be hidden from your view.

Highway Code - Rule 182 Do Not Cut In On Cyclists


When turning

Roundabouts (184 to 190)


On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane. You should


When reaching the roundabout you should

Highway Code - Rule 185 Follow The Correct Procedure At Roundabouts


Signals and position. When taking the first exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise

When there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it.


In all cases watch out for and give plenty of room to


Mini-roundabouts. Approach these in the same way as normal roundabouts. All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so. Remember, there is less space to manoeuvre and less time to signal. Avoid making U-turns at mini-roundabouts. Beware of others doing this.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10(1) & 16(1)


At double mini-roundabouts treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right.


Multiple roundabouts. At some complex junctions, there may be a series of mini-roundabouts at each intersection. Treat each mini-roundabout separately and follow the normal rules.

Highway Code - Rule 190 Treat Each Roundabout Separately

Pedestrian crossings (191 to 199)


You MUST NOT park on a crossing or in the area covered by the zig-zag lines. You MUST NOT overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing or the vehicle nearest the crossing which has stopped to give way to pedestrians.
Laws ZPPPCRGD regs 18, 20 & 24, RTRA sect 25(5) & TSRGD regs 10, 27 & 28


In queuing traffic, you should keep the crossing clear.

Highway Code - Rule 192 Keep The Crossing Clear


You should take extra care where the view of either side of the crossing is blocked by queuing traffic or incorrectly parked vehicles. Pedestrians may be crossing between stationary vehicles.


Allow pedestrians plenty of time to cross and do not harass them by revving your engine or edging forward.


Zebra crossings. As you approach a zebra crossing

A zebra crossing with a central island is two separate crossings (see pictures in Crossings (18 to 30)).
Law ZPPPCRGD reg 25

Signal-controlled crossings


Pelican crossings. These are signal-controlled crossings where flashing amber follows the red ‘Stop’ light. You MUST stop when the red light shows. When the amber light is flashing, you MUST give way to any pedestrians on the crossing. If the amber light is flashing and there are no pedestrians on the crossing, you may proceed with caution.
Laws ZPPPCRGD regs 23 & 26 & RTRA sect 25(5)

Highway Code - Rule 196 Allow Pedestrians To Cross When The Amber Light Is Flashing


Pelican crossings which go straight across the road are one crossing, even when there is a central island. You MUST wait for pedestrians who are crossing from the other side of the island.
Laws ZPPPCRGD reg 26 & RTRA sect 25(5)


Give way to anyone still crossing after the signal for vehicles has changed to green. This advice applies to all crossings.


Toucan, puffin and equestrian crossings. These are similar to pelican crossings, but there is no flashing amber phase; the light sequence for traffic at these three crossings is the same as at traffic lights. If the signal-controlled crossing is not working, proceed with extreme caution.

Reversing (200 to 203)


Choose an appropriate place to manoeuvre. If you need to turn your vehicle around, wait until you find a safe place. Try not to reverse or turn round in a busy road; find a quiet side road or drive round a block of side streets.


Do not reverse from a side road into a main road. When using a driveway, reverse in and drive out if you can.

Highway Code - Rule 202 Check All Round When Reversing


Look carefully before you start reversing. You should

Reverse slowly while

Get someone to guide you if you cannot see clearly.


You MUST NOT reverse your vehicle further than necessary.
Law CUR reg 106

The road user and the law

The following list can be found abbreviated throughout the Code. It is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, but a guide to some of the important points of law. For the precise wording of the law, please refer to the various Acts and Regulations (as amended) indicated in the Code. Abbreviations are listed below.

Most of the provisions apply on all roads throughout Great Britain, although there are some exceptions. The definition of a road in England and Wales is ‘any highway and any other road to which the public has access and includes bridges over which a road passes’ (RTA 1988 sect 192(1)). In Scotland, there is a similar definition which is extended to include any way over which the public have a right of passage (R(S)A 1984 sect 151(1)).

It is important to note that references to ‘road’ therefore generally include footpaths, bridleways and cycle tracks, and many roadways and driveways on private land (including many car parks). In most cases, the law will apply to them and there may be additional rules for particular paths or ways. Some serious driving offences, including drink-driving offences, also apply to all public places, for example public car parks.

Acts and regulations from 1988 can be viewed on the UK legislation site. Acts and regulations prior to 1988 are only available in their original print format which may be obtained from The Stationery Office as detailed inside the back cover.

Acts and regulations prior to 1988

Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act 1970 CSDPA

Functions of Traffic Wardens Order 1970 FTWO

Greater London (General Powers) Act 1974 GL(GP)A

Highway Act 1835 or 1980 (as indicated) HA

Motorways Traffic (England & Wales) Regulations 1982 MT(E&W)R

Motorways Traffic (England & Wales) Amended Regulations MT(E&W)(A)R

Pedal Cycles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1983 PCUR

Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981 PPVA

Road Traffic Act 1984 RTA

Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 RTRA

Road Vehicles (Construction & Use) Regulations 1986 CUR

Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 R(S)A

Acts and regulations from 1988 onwards

Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Act 1990 H(PHYR)A

Horses (Protective Headgear for Young Riders) Regulations 1992 H(PHYR)R

Motor Cycles (Eye Protectors) Regulations 1999 MC(EP)R

Motor Cycles (Protective Helmets) Regulations 1998 MC(PH)R

Motorways Traffic (Scotland) Regulations 1995 MT(S)R

Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 MV(DL)R

Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) Regulations 1993 MV(WSB)R

Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) (Amendment) Regulations 2006 MV(WSB)(A)R

Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) Regulations 1993 MV(WSBCFS)R

New Roads and Streetworks Act 1991 NRSWA

Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 PCC(S)A

Police Reform Act 2002 PRA

Prohibition of Smoking in Certain Premises (Scotland) Regulations 2006. Scottish SI 2006/No 90 TPSCP(S)R *

Road Safety Act 2006 RSA

Road Traffic Act 1988 RTA

Road Traffic Act 1991 RTA

Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 RT(ND)A

Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 RTOA

Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001 RV(DRM)R

Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 RVLR

Road Vehicles (Registration & Licensing) Regulations 2002 RV(R&L)R

Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/765 TSf(EV) *

Smoke-free Premises etc (Wales) Regulations 2007 SI 2007/W787 TSfP(W)R *

Traffic Management Act 2004 TMA

Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002 TSRGD

Use of Invalid Carriages on Highways Regulations 1988 UICHR

Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 VERA

Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997 ZPPPCRGD

*Specific legislation applies to smoking in vehicles which constitute workplaces. For information, visit http://www.smokefree.nhs.uk http://www.clearingtheairscotland.com http://www.smokingbanwales.co.uk

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