Third of motorists ‘do not know UK's Highway Code is changing next week’
Some 33 per cent of motorists polled for the AA said they did not know the Highway Code is being revamped, including 4 per cent who have “no intention” of looking at the details.
More than 13,700 drivers were questioned between January 8 and 18 for the survey.
The Highway Code contains advice and rules for people on Britain’s roads.
It is due to became updated on January 29 pending parliamentary approval to introduce a risk-based hierarchy of road users.
Someone driving will have more responsibility to watch out for people cycling, walking or riding a horse, and cyclists will have more responsibility to be aware of pedestrians.
Other key amendments include clearer guidance for drivers to leave a distance of at least 1.5 metres when overtaking cyclists, and instructing drivers turning into a road to give way to pedestrians waiting to cross.
There will also be a recommendation for car users to reduce the risk of opening a door into the path of a cyclist by using the hand on the opposite side to the door, as that will often lead to them looking over their shoulder.
This is known as the Dutch Reach technique.
AA head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “With a week to go, too many drivers are unaware of the new rules of the road.
“While the Government formally announced these changes last summer, they have been far too silent in promoting them.
“Shockingly, one in 25 drivers say they have no intention of looking at the new rules.
“These changes affect everyone, so we encourage people to read the updated code now so we can make our roads safer.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes described the amendments as “a significant departure from what’s gone before”.
He said it is “vitally important” that all road users “fully understand what’s new”.
Mr Lyes went on: “Any ignorance, or indeed confusion, about the updates to the Highway Code is likely to lead to avoidable collisions.
“A concerted and sustained effort must now be made to clearly communicate the changes as widely as possible.”
Provisional DfT figures show 4,290 pedestrians and 4,700 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in crashes on Britain’s roads in the year to the end of June 2021.
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at charity Cycling UK, said the changes to the Highway Code would happen “overnight” so the lack of official publicity is “frustrating”.
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