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Highway Code for Other Drivers


The Carrentals.co.uk Highway Code - for Other Drivers

Our ‘Hell is Other Drivers’ campaign highlights the biggest problem most people have when driving – other road users! While every driver is expected to know and understand the concepts of the Highway Code, that isn’t always the case. From being cut up on the motorway to being blinded by full beam headlights, other drivers play a big part in our driving experiences. To help provide these road users with a quick refresher of some of the main rules of the road, we’ve put together our own Highway Code for Other Drivers…highwaycode_other_drivers.pdf


Whether it’s turning onto a new road, changing lanes, exiting a roundabout or overtaking, indicating is a key part of driving, conveying important information about your intended movements to other road users. Indicating should take place before you make your move to give other drivers some warning – there is little anyone else can do if you only start indicating during a manoeuvre.


While many people have discovered that the rear view mirror provides a useful place for hanging an air freshener, there is in fact a more important reason for its presence. Drivers are advised to check their rear view mirror every seven seconds to monitor what is happening on the road behind them and should check both their rear view mirror and wing mirrors before making a manoeuvre, as well as their blind spot.


In most cases the motorways in the UK have three lanes, plus a hard shoulder. The hard shoulder is for emergencies only and should not be used for undertaking, stopping to make phone calls or roadside picnics. If you wish to overtake a car travelling slower than you then use either the middle or right hand lane, but remember to move back over to the left hand lane once you have passed slower vehicles – avoid hogging the middle lane.


Dipped beam headlights should be used at all times between sunset and sunrise, or in the event of heavy rain or fog. When driving in these conditions and there is nothing travelling either in front of you or coming the other way then it is also advised to switch on the full beam headlights. However, to avoid frazzling fellow drivers’ retinas, remember to switch these off when you approach or pass another road user. The same goes for fog lights. These should only be switched on if visibility is less than 10 metres and should be switched off as soon as the fog has cleared.

Learner drivers

All drivers have had to learn at some point, yet it is surprising how quickly that is forgotten once the infamous ‘L’ plates are thrown away. Allow learner drivers space and if they stall at a roundabout or traffic lights, try and think back to what it felt like to be in their shoes before sounding your horn.

Winter weather

With last winter seeing a heavy amount of snowfall across the UK, drivers were challenged with completing their journeys in some treacherous situations. Conditions this year have already reached freezing at times, so drivers need to remember to allow a bit longer before setting off on their journey to clear their windscreen, mirrors and windows. Crouching over the steering wheel to peer through a cleared gap of four inches does not constitute safe driving. Whether it’s snow or simply icy conditions, drivers should remember that braking needs to be anticipated sooner during these times to avoid skidding into the car in front. Driving in a higher gear in the snow reduces the risk of sliding and also wheel spin.

Get in the right lane

If you are unsure of your route or are unfamiliar with a road then it is not uncommon to find yourself in the wrong lane. If there is still time to move across, signal your intentions and wait for the traffic to let you in. However, if you realise at the last minute that you need to change lanes then spare a second’s thought for other cars before cutting across their path and causing them to screech to a stop.


The recommended distance between vehicles travelling at 30 mph is 75 feet, at 50mph it’s 175 feet and at 70 mph it’s 315 feet. At no point is it advised to travel bumper to bumper with the car in front. It can be frustrating travelling behind a car that is travelling at a much slower speed, especially when there are few opportunities to overtake, but tailgating is not a solution. Not only can tailgating cause you to crash into the other vehicle, but the additional stress put on the driver of the car in front also makes them more likely to cause an accident.


The three most important rules of roundabouts are; give way to traffic from the right; indicate; and only enter the ‘Keep Clear’ sections when there is space on the other side for you to move into. Just because you may be in a hurry, pulling into the ‘Keep Clear’ box when there is no space for you on the other side will not make your journey go any quicker – all it is likely to do is earn you a fanfare of car horns. If the exit you want is backed up with traffic, wait until this moves forwards before passing through the ‘Keep Clear’ box, as opposed to preventing all vehicles travelling around the roundabout from getting past you.

If you have any of your own thoughts on Highway Code rules for other drivers why not tell us about them on our Forum or download this article in pdf format
These tips are not exhaustive and are for information only. Carrentals.co.uk can not be held responsible for any losses incurred as a result of acting on any information contained herein.