Highway Code changes affecting drivers will improve road safety – what you need to know

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Rules 91, 97 and 98 apply directly to drivers and motorcyclists to ensure they understand the changes to the laws. Rule 91 has been changed so drivers know to get sufficient sleep before a journey and that emergency areas and hard shoulders on motorways are not to be used for rest breaks in the event of driver sleepiness.

Rule 97 says that drivers must have a valid licence and insurance and vehicles must be in a legal and roadworthy condition, which can be ensured by doing basic maintenance and safety checks before setting off.

Changes made to Rule 98 has been one of the most important given the increase in staycations, as drivers need to understand that reduced speed limits may apply when they are towing a trailer.

When towing, trailers must be in a roadworthy condition, including tyres, lights and brakes, with drivers being advised to use towing mirrors and are required by law to be fitted with a secondary coupling device.

General rules, including Rule 124 has been highlighted to ensure the safety of road users by outlining the speed limits for a number of vehicles.

On single carriageways, cars, motorcycles and motorhomes that don’t exceed 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight can travel up to 60mph.

The same applies for dual carriageways with vehicles like cars towing trailers, buses, heavier motorhomes and goods vehicles being restricted to 60mph.

Cars, motorcycles and lighter motorhomes can travel up to 70mph.

On motorways, cars towing caravans and goods vehicles exceeding 7.5 tonnes cannot go above 60mph.

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Locally set speed limits may apply, such as some built-up areas having a limit of 20mph or single carriageways with known hazards being restricted to 50mph.

Variable speed limit signs are also used on some motorways and dual carriageways to change the maximum speed limit.

A speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h) generally applies to all roads with street lights (excluding motorways) unless signs show otherwise.

The most changes to the Highway Code came to the Motorways section, from Rules 253 to 274.

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