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What Is The Highway Code UK and Is It Law?

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Ever wondered when a pedestrian has right of way, or what you should do if you run over an animal? Designed to keep all road users safe, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, the Highway Code offers clarity on the rules of the road and covers many hypothetical scenarios.

Considered an essential guide, some elements of the Highway Code will appear in your theory test and should be applied throughout your practical driving test.

The code covers most aspects of driving, including road signs, traffic signals and how to approach and use every type of road – from busy motorways to narrow country lanes. Helpfully, it also covers how to safely navigate a range of scenarios such as how to drive in adverse weather conditions and what to do if you’ve broken down, been involved in an accident or hit an animal.

The code is by no means just for drivers, it’s also recommended that pedestrians, motorcyclists, users of mobility scooters, cyclists and horse riders familiarise themselves with the code as well.


Is the Highway Code Law?

Many of the rules outlined in the Highway Code are legally binding meaning if you break them you could be on the wrong side of the law and face legal action.

Legal action could consist of fines, points on your licence, driving bans, or in more serious cases you could face a prison sentence.

These tough penalties are in place to promote safer roads for all who use them. Ignorance of the Highway Code will not be a valid excuse in the courtroom, so it’s best to brush up on your knowledge.

You don’t need to be able to recite the entire code off by heart, but you will need to understand the rules that apply to you and put them into practice on the road.

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales.


Is the Highway Code free?

The good news is that the complete Highway Code is easily accessible. If you have access to a device with internet connection, you can read the code at any time for free over on the government website. Alternatively, you can purchase the latest version. It can be handy to keep a print copy of the code in your car in case you need to refer to it.

We hope this article has cleared up your questions about the Highway Code. In short, it is essential reading that gears you up for being a responsible driver. Not only will it help to keep you safe, it will also help protect other road users who are more vulnerable, such as pedestrians, wheelchair users and cyclists.


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