Highway Code changes slammed by Steve McNamara
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A huge overhaul of the Highway Code was brought in at the end of January, designed at making roads safer for everyone who uses them. However, three-fifths (61 percent) still haven’t read the changes, according to a survey by AA Accident Assist.
Only 39 percent had read the rules, a slight increase from 33 percent of drivers who were asked the same question in January this year.
More than half of the 13,000 survey participants had heard about the changes to the Highway Code but had not had time to read them yet.
One in 10 drivers between the ages of 18 to 54 were completely unaware of the changes to the Code.
In comparison, one in 20 older drivers over the age of 55 knew about the changes.
Around two percent of respondents said they had no intention of reading any of the updates that were introduced.
Tim Rankin, managing director of AA Accident Assist, said he was worried about the number of people who had not familiarised themselves with the new rules.
He added: “For many, the updated Highway Code formalises safe and sensible roadcraft, however we are concerned that so many still haven’t read the rules.
“While we are pleased that many of the changes can be successfully recalled, we’d like more drivers to know the rules outright so they can keep themselves and others safe.
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“It is in everyone’s interest to take every measure that helps avoid collisions and remove confusion from the road.
“We urge those that still haven’t read the updated Code to do so as soon as possible.”
When asked to identify the five correct statements included in the updated Highway Code from a list of 10, the majority could do so correctly.
Rules concerning pedestrians crossing the road and giving way to cyclists and pedestrians before turning into side roads are the most recalled (both 94 percent).
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However, only 69 percent knew of the Dutch Reach method.
The Dutch Reach is a method designed to protect cyclists and pedestrians from drivers and passengers opening their car doors.
When leaving a car, drivers should use the opposite hand to open the door.
This will force people to turn their bodies, allowing for a greater view out of the back of the car to see for any oncoming traffic.
According to the Dutch Reach Project, the maximum “dooring zone” is 1.5 metres.
The research also found that some cycling-related rules had been misremembered, with more than a quarter believing cyclists must ride in the centre of the lane.
Cyclists were given fresh guidance to ride in the centre of a lane on quieter roads, in slower-moving traffic and at the approach to junctions in order to make themselves as clearly visible as possible.
They were also reminded that they can ride two abreast, as has always been the case, as it can be safer in large groups or with children.
However, they must be aware of drivers behind them and allow them to overtake if it is safe to do so.
Meanwhile, 14 percent falsely believe that electric car owners are required to sound their horn prior to overtaking cyclists and horse riders to make them aware of their presence.
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