Four in 10 UK drivers have no idea that major new road rules became law at the beginning of this year, and more than half can’t identify any of the new regulations.
The major changes to Britain’s Highway Code came into force on January 29, and although some are specifically aimed at cyclists and people riding horses or driving horse-drawn vehicles, the new rules could have serious consequences for car drivers.
The most important change is that vehicular traffic should now give way to pedestrians crossing, or waiting to cross, at a road junction. But in a poll conducted by dealer group Vertu, 68 percent of those asked had no idea that pedestrians now have right of way and that cars were required to wait.
In fact, while 60 percent of those polled knew the Highway Code had been updated this year, less than one third (29 percent) had bothered to update their own knowledge of it. Worse still, 44 percent had never bothered to refresh their Highway Code knowledge since passing their driving tests.
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Almost two-thirds of those asked had no idea that they should give way to cyclists who are riding ahead of them but not in a cycle lane, and only 41 percent were aware that drivers are prohibited from using a handheld electronic device even if the vehicle isn’t moving.
Worryingly, though, it seems it’s not only new rules that leave Britain’s drivers flummoxed. Half of UK drivers claimed they didn’t know that the speed limit on the country’s motorways is 70 mph (113 km/h) despite that speed limit having been introduced in 1965.
As for why so many British drivers seemed pathetically oblivious to the rules of the road, 45 percent of those polled claimed it was difficult to stay up to date with the Highway Code, though 38 percent still believe a sound knowledge of the code is essential for being a good driver.