New driving laws set to boost smart motorway safety will be introduced later this year

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The new rules will provide clearer advice on where drivers must stop in an emergency and the importance of not using Red X lanes. The new rules will include clear guidance on how to navigate emergency area signage such as refuge bays.

It will include the “Go left” in a breakdown campaign recently launched by Highways England.

The new updates mean clear guidance on how to use smart motorways will finally be given some 15 years after the roads were first launched.

Putting information inside the Highway Code also means learner drivers will be forced to read up on the safety of the schemes before being hit with them after little training previously.

Tips on how to navigate variable speed limits to manage congestion and updated guidance on key factors which contribute to safety incidents will also be included.

The new rules will include extra advice on driving while tired, how to deal with unroadworthy vehicles and issues surrounding safe towing, tailgating and driving through roadworks.

In total 33 existing rules will be amended in the updates with two new laws being introduced.

There will also be a number of extra amendments made to additional information and annexes inside the Highway Code.

Jeremy Phillips, Highways England’s Head of Road Safety said the new updates would “help everyone” who uses the roads.

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He added the new rules would “produce clearer guidance” for road users and promised the updates would “make journeys even safer”.

He said: “The updates to The Highway Code will help everyone who uses our busiest roads.

“Thanks to the input from road users, we have been able to produce clearer guidance on how to use our motorways and major A-roads which will make journeys even safer.

“The new edition of The Highway Code can give everyone on our roads the confidence that they have the knowledge and skills to safely get from A to B.”

The changes come after more than 3,200 people and organisations responded to a consultation on the changes.

Their comments directly led to the Highway Code being amended and improved.

Although no date which the new rules will be introduced has been given, Highways England said they expect it will change later this year.

GOV.UK has previously suggested a commitment to publish the updated online Highway Code by Autumn 2021.

This would then be ready in time for the new edition of the printed Highway Code by March 2022.

Updates to the Highway Code and driving laws were mentioned as a key part of the Government’s smart motorway evidence stocktake released in 2020.

The delivery of changes is described in the stocktake’s first year progress report making it a key part of the long term changes for the roads.

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