Source: Intelligent Instructor

Since the UK Highway Code changed on 29 January 2022, a new study of 2,000 UK drivers by Vertu Motors has revealed that more than 50% of drivers cannot even identify one of the new Highway Code rules.

Although 60%  of drivers know that the Highway Code was updated in 2022, less than a third (29%) have refreshed their knowledge of its rules. In fact, a staggering 44% of drivers admitted that they have never refreshed their knowledge of the code since passing their driving test.

Fast and furious

Only Half of UK Drivers Aware 70mph is the National Speed Limit on the Motorway

When it comes to the new rules that drivers are least familiar with, more than two-thirds (68%) don’t know that traffic should give way when people are crossing or waiting to cross a junction.

Concerningly, only half of UK drivers know that 70mph is the national speed limit on the motorway and almost a quarter (23%) admit to surpassing this speed in 2022. Furthermore, 64% of motorists don’t know that they should give way to cyclists who are riding ahead on the road and not using a cycle lane. The new rule that drivers were most aware of is that they must give way to pedestrians and cyclists on a parallel crossing (50%)

The new Highway Code states that drivers are prohibited from holding or using their handheld device for anything, even if the vehicle isn’t moving. While 41%  of respondents correctly identified this new rule, 15%  incorrectly believe motorists are allowed to check mobile notifications and alerts when driving.


Minority get the point

The study shed light on motorists’ knowledge of well-established Highway Code rules, as only 38% of drivers know to allow a two-second gap between themselves and the vehicle in front. The research also explored UK drivers’ attitudes towards the Highway Code. Offering insight into why so few drivers know the new rules, 45 %  say it is difficult to stay up to date with the Highway Code. Despite this, 38% of UK motorists say the code is essential for being a good driver.

According to the survey data, 43% of Aberystwyth respondents stated that they have never refreshed their knowledge of the Highway Code, since passing their test. With a large number of respondents in Cambridge (41%) and Portsmouth (41%) also admitted they too have not refreshed their knowledge.

Rank City %
1 Aberystwyth 43%
2 Cambridge 41%
3 Portsmouth 41%
4 Worcester 39%
5 Sheffield 38%
6 Southampton 38%
7 Swansea 38%
8 Leeds 37%
9 Belfast 34%
10 York 34%

The best performing cities included Oxford at a low 13% of admitting they had never refreshed on the Highway Code, followed by Birmingham (17%).

Rank City %
1 Oxford 13%
2 Birmingham 17%
3 Wolverhampton 19%
4 Brighton and Hove 21%
5 Plymouth 21%
6 London 22%
7 Manchester 22%
8 Edinburgh 23%
9 Gloucester 23%
10 Cardiff 24%

Cracking the safe

“Understanding and keeping up to date with the Highway Code is vital for ensuring that all road users stay safe, and motorists are driving according to the latest laws,” comment a spokesperson at Vertu Motors who commissioned the survey.


“It is surprising that so many in the UK have not refreshed their knowledge of the code either when it was last updated, or even since they passed their driving test.”

“Regardless of how experienced a driver you are, you should always keep up to date with the Highway Code. Re-read the rules at least once a year to make sure you and other road users are kept safe.”