Despite increased awareness of the new Highway Code rules, a lack of understanding is causing confusion, according to a study.
The results showed road users up and down the country calling for the changes to be axed with the majority of people (73%) unsure if the recent changes are improving road safety or protecting vulnerable road users.
Confusion over Highway Code changes
Data shows that while there is raised awareness around the Highway Code changes, road users are still confused – with 34% admitting they find them too hard to follow.
In addition to this, 71% of the nation think cyclists have complete right of way – as opposed to priority – over cars on UK roads.
On a positive note, 80% accurately believe pedestrians are deemed the most vulnerable road users.
These results suggest awareness and education surrounding the H2 rule is clear – which states that drivers must give way to pedestrians when crossing at a junction – however many are confused by how much priority or ‘right of way’ cyclists have over cars.
Highway Code H3 rule – cars or cyclists right of way
The rule, or H3 as it’s known, states that drivers must give priority to a cyclist when they are turning into or out of a junction, or changing direction or lane, just as they would to other motor vehicles.
The changes were introduced to improve road safety and protect vulnerable road users. However, a third of those surveyed revealed they hadn’t seen any benefits from the changes (33%) and an even lower proportion (25%) think the roads will be safer.
When asked whether they’d noticed an increase in drivers giving way to pedestrians at crossings since January, 40% of road users stated they hadn’t at all. This suggests that while most people understand the H2 rule, they’re not seeing it in action or any benefits.
Calls for driving refresher tests
With 30% of Brits agreeing that the Highway Code changes should be retracted and 34% finding the changes too hard to follow, it’s no surprise that almost half (49%) of the nation agree drivers should take either a desk-based or a practical driving test, following the changes.
Reassuringly, when asked what changes had been made this year, 47% of 16-24-year-olds were aware of at least one main change, with social media being the most popular mode for finding out about the changes.
Jonathan White, Legal and Compliance Director at National Accident Helpline, says: “While we have always welcomed the Highway Code changes, we have also expressed our concern about insufficient public education and understanding around the changes. The data from our latest research reflects this.
“It’s concerning to see that so many road users believe the changes aren’t improving safety and still don’t know what changes have been made. Some people even believe nothing has altered, so it’s understandable why many people would like to see a refresher driving test put in place.
“In order to see any changes on the roads, we urge everyone to familiarise themselves with all the new rules – they provide important guidance when determining who is at fault for an accident.”
For guidance on the changes visit the National Accident Helpline website.