The Highway Code is something that every road user should be familiar with, yet many people only study it when they are learning to drive. On 29th January 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) introduced changes to the Highway Code. These changes affect every road user. How will these changes affect LGV, HGV and PCV drivers?
It is important for LGV, HGV and PCV drivers to keep up to date with highway code rules. Not only to remain compliant, but also to understand the responsibility they have for their own safety and the safety of others. The recent changes to the Highway Code affect eight important areas:
- Introducing a new hierarchy of road users
- Crossing the road at junctions
- Walking, cycling, or riding in shared spaces
- Positioning in the road when cycling
- Overtaking when driving or cycling
- Cycling at junctions
- People cycling, riding horses and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts
- Parking, charging and leaving vehicles
Here we look at some of the changes, and how they will impact LGV, HGV and PCV drivers.
The hierarchy of road users
The government makes it clear that every road user remains responsible for their own safety and the safety of others. But, the new hierarchy puts the greatest responsibility on those in charge of vehicles that can cause the greatest harm. This puts drivers of large goods and passenger vehicles, slightly ahead of vans/minibuses, cars/taxis, and motorcycles.
The updated code clarifies that traffic (including LGV/HGVs) should give way to people already crossing, or waiting to cross, at a junction as well as those on a zebra crossing.
Cyclists’ positioning in the road
LGV, HGV and PCV drivers should be very aware of this change on quiet roads. In slower-moving traffic and when approaching junctions or a narrowing road, cyclists are advised to ride in the centre of their lane. Cyclists should be aware of vehicles behind them, allowing them to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when safe to do so.
Overtaking when driving
LGV/HGV drivers should be aware that they may cross a double-white line to overtake a cyclist or horse-rider. This is providing they are travelling at 10 mph or less and the road is clear. The guidance on safe passing distances and speeds for people driving or riding a motorcycle when overtaking vulnerable road users, has been updated. If it is unsafe or not possible to meet the new clearances, drivers and riders must wait and not overtake.
People cycling, riding a horse, and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts
The new code clarifies that drivers (including LGVs, HGVs and PCVs) should give priority to cyclists on roundabouts. Drivers must not attempt to overtake cyclists within that person’s lane. In addition, drivers should allow people cycling to move across their path as they travel around the roundabout. As before, people cycling, riding a horse, and driving a horse-drawn vehicle may stay in the left-hand lane of a roundabout when they are continuing across or around the roundabout.
Parking, charging, and leaving vehicles
You may have heard a lot of mention of the ‘Dutch Reach’ in reports about the Highway Code changes. This is the technique of opening the door using the hand on the opposite side to the door, when leaving a vehicle. Drivers should check their surroundings before opening a door. This to make sure there are no pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles close by.
For the first time, there is guidance for charging electric vehicles. The guidance relates to safety around cables and stopping points. This will become more relevant as we see the introduction of electric LGVs/HGVs on the road in the future.
Get up to date with the Highway Code
As these latest changes demonstrate, the Highway Code is a constantly evolving document. All LGV, HGV and PCV drivers, should refer to the Highway Code on a regular basis. Instructors should ensure they are up to date with it too.
One great way to pass the latest updates onto drivers is through Driver CPC Periodic Training. In fact, our module ‘The Road: Overcoming Daily Driving Challenges’, covers The Highway Code, as well as other helpful topics such as Route Planning, Bridges and Bridge Strikes, and Roadworks and Traffic.
We have developed a handy guide to download, outlining some of the key changes.
The Highway Code and Driver CPC
Get your drivers up to speed now by giving your Instructors the content that they need to deliver engaging Driver CPC Periodic Training, including The Highway Code topic. By joining the RTITB Driver CPC Consortium, you will gain access to our unique online Driver CPC material portal where Instructors can create customised courses that feature a variety of delivery methods, from videos and case studies, to quizzes and presentations.
Find out how becoming a member of the RTITB Driver CPC Consortium can help you to not only maintain high standards, but save time and money too.