Highway Code Changes for HGV Drivers 2022
Originally uploaded on June 29, 2022
In both January and March 2022, important updates to the Highway Code were brought into effect. For fleets operating LGVs, Highway Code training for drivers is vital. Safety on long journeys in large vehicles will affect not only your staff but everyone on the road. These Highway Code changes affect every road user but there are new features that specifically refer to those driving HGVs. Despite this, recent figures show that 20% of drivers remain unaware of changes to the Highway Code for HGV drivers. It is the duty of care of fleet managers to manage their drivers and ensure that they all have access to the new regulations.
The best action for fleet managers is to advise your drivers to read through the full Highway Code as there are changes to many of the rules within it, even if the phrasing has simply been altered. The changes to the Highway Code that most affect HGV drivers and fleets are focused on the below areas:
• The introduction of the Hierarchy of Road Users, which contains 3 new rules.
• Driving in slow-moving traffic.
• Overtaking cyclists, horse riders, or horse-drawn carriages.
• Advanced stop lines.
• Dutch reach.
• Charging electric vehicles.
• Cyclist road positions.
• Use of devices while driving.
In detail, these changes are:
The New Highway Code for LGV Drivers and Other Road Users
The introduction of the Hierarchy of Road Users
The first update is the creation of the Hierarchy of Road Users, which is split into three rules: H1, H2, and H3.
The first section (H1) introduces the concept of this hierarchy. Motorists driving vehicles that are more likely to cause the most harm now bear the greatest responsibility for reducing the danger to others. For example, HGV drivers now have more responsibility than those in smaller vehicles.
It is stressed in the Highway Code that this does not mean that other drivers can behave irresponsibly and should still consider the safety of themselves and others when on the road.
Give way to pedestrians or cyclists on a crossing
The second section of the Hierarchy of Road Users (H2) relates to driver behaviour when at crossings. At a junction, all motorists must give way to pedestrians or cyclists who are crossing or waiting to cross at a road that you are turning into, a road you are emerging from, or at a zebra or parallel crossing.
Do not cut off cyclists, horse riders, or horse-drawn carriages ahead of you when you are turning in or out of a junction, changing direction, or switching lanes.
The final section of the Hierarchy of Road Users (H3) states that motorists should not cut across cyclists or horses ahead of them when they are at a junction, changing direction, or switching lanes. This is the case no matter where on the road the cyclist or horse is e.g., even if the cyclist is on the cycle path.
In slow-moving traffic, allow pedestrians or cyclists to cross in front of you.
Rule 151 of the Highway Code consists of a few rules about how to behave in slow-moving traffic that have been in place since before the code was updated. These include making sure you are not blocking side roads and leaving enough space between yourself and the vehicle in front. As part of the 2022 changes, a new rule has been added to this list: when in slow-moving traffic, drivers should allow pedestrians and cyclists to cross in front of them.
When overtaking, give cyclists, horse riders, or horse-drawn carriages as much room as you would give when overtaking a car.
Drivers should wait behind motorcyclists, cyclists, horses, or pedestrians if it is unsafe to overtake. When overtaking cyclists at up to 30mph, you should leave at least 1.5 metres of space and allow even more room when travelling at higher speeds. For horses, you should slow down to a maximum of 10mph and allow at least 2 metres of space. For pedestrians, lower your speed to an appropriate level and leave 2 meters of space.
Whenever overtaking, drivers should take extra care at night or in bad weather, such as high winds.
Advanced stop lines
Pay attention to advanced stop lines.
There are new rules in place regarding advanced stop lines which, as pictured, include a section for cyclists to wait ahead of traffic.
When waiting at advanced stop lines, motorists must stop at the first stop line and not block the cyclists’ section. Drivers of large vehicles, such as HGVs, should wait far enough back that they have full visibility of the cyclist area.
Use Dutch Reach to open your door.
If you have had to park on the roadside, when leaving your vehicle, you should open your door using the hand on the opposite side to the door you are opening. For example, if opening a door on your right-hand side, you should use your left hand. This will make you turn before opening the door and allow you to check over your shoulder for any cyclists or motorists that may be passing you.
Be aware of causing a trip hazard when charging an electric vehicle.
If charging an electric vehicle, park close to the charge point to avoid creating a trip hazard with the charging cables, even display a warning sign if you can. When your vehicle has finished charging, return the cables neatly.
Cyclist road positions.
As per Rule 72, cyclists are now advised that they can ride in the centre of their lane to make themselves clearly visible if they are:
• on quiet roads or streets,
• in slow-moving traffic,
• or when approaching junctions or narrowing roads where it would be unsafe for motorists to overtake them.
Please keep this in mind when on the road with cyclists.
Use of devices while driving.
As well as the above updates the Highway Code in January, in March new rules were brought in to tighten restrictions on using devices such as mobile phones or satnavs whilst driving. Rule 149 of the updated Highway Code states:
You MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, capable of interactive communication (such as a tablet) for any purpose when driving or when supervising a learner driver. This ban covers all use of a hand-held interactive communication device and it applies even when the interactive communication capability is turned off or unavailable. You MUST NOT pick up the phone or similar device while driving to dial a number and then put it in the cradle for the duration of the conversation. You MUST NOT pick up and use your hand-held phone or similar device while stationary in traffic.
There are a few specific exceptions, however. You can call for emergency services if it is unsafe to stop during a genuine emergency, you can use a device to make a contactless payment at a terminal if the vehicle is stationary.
As the Highway Code has seen substantial updates twice so far this year, it’s important to make sure your fleet is up to date on what behaviour is expected of them when on the road. The Highway Code for HGV drivers can be included in LGV driver training, and you can also share this blog with your team to give them an overview.
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