Tag Archives: highway-code
A) The center line is there to separate vehicles traveling in opposite directions along the same stretch of road. There are a few variations of the center line, a solid center line without any breaks means “do not overtake” you will usually see these line on bends hump bridges or chicanes where on coming traffic may not be visible, also on stretches of motor way entrances or exits with steep corners and the solid line that separates the motorway from the hard shoulder.
First here is a useful list of countries that travel on the left hand side of the centre line. Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bophuthatswana, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Cayman Islands, Channel Islands, Ciskei, Cyprus, Dominica, Falkland Islands, Fiji, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, India Indonesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Lesotho, Macau, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Montserrat, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua, New, Guinea, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Seychelles, Sikkim, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Helena, St. Lucia, Surinam, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, US Virgin Islands, Venda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Trivia 1: The accelerator, brake and clutch pedals are all in the same order (Right foot accelerate, left foot clutch and middle pedal brake) no mater what side of the car the steering wheel is on.
Trivia2: A great rule of thumb when driving in a foreign country who use the opposite side of the road, if you are renting a vehicle, the central line is always on the drivers side of the vehicle, and the passengers side is nearest the curb, meaning if you find you are nearest the curb and your passenger is nearest the central line, YOU ARE DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD! However if you take a foreign vehicle to a foreign country which has opposite steering (come on you know what I mean) then we wish you the very best of luck.
Once you shell out and spend £15k to £25k on your new cruise mobile, one of the most frustrating things can be trying to enjoy a nice run on the motorway without encountering lane hoggers. You know who you are, those annoying (insert swear word here) who drive at 70 mph in the passing lane when there is absolutely nothing else on the motorway. So just for you I have put together this diagram to explain the rules of the motorway. If you know any lane hoggers, please send them this blog so that they may be educated with the correct discipline for motorway driving in the UK.
A) The HARD SHOULDER: This is not a driving lane or a place to stop and have a picnic. The hard shoulder is separated from the main motorway by a solid white line, if there is no solid white line then you are on the inside lane and not a hard shoulder. The hard shoulder is designed for emergency use only, if your vehicle breaks down, loses power or if a tire should deflate, the hard shoulder is where you must navigate your vehicle to keep from obstructing other fast moving vehicles. Once safely on the hard shoulder, try to stop your vehicle as close to the grass verge as possible and as far away from the traffic as possible, with you steering on full lock to the left (away from traffic) remembering to engage your hand brake. The purpose of locking the steering to the left is should another vehicle lose control and strike your vehicle from behind, your car will not be pushed into traffic, rather it would be pushed away from traffic. Never remain in your vehicle, always exit from the left hand door making sure your passengers do the same, and sit away from the vehicle. Keep children close to you, but leave pets inside the vehicle.
B) The INSIDE LANE (aka) SLOW LANE: This lane is for slow moving vehicles such as lorries, caravans on tow, and vehicles traveling below 65 mph. As a rule, the minimum speed to travel on the motorway is 50 mph, anything below this becomes dangerous unless specified by roadwork signs and traffic flow signals (note: this is not taking into account the weather). Apart from slow moving vehicles, the inside lane is used for entering and exiting the motorway. A good rule of thumb, if you are in the inside lane and are approaching a motorway entrance where vehicles are joining the motorway, indicate and move over to the center lane to give room to those vehicles trying to get on the motorway. And when leaving the motorway try to maneuver to the outside lane a good mile before you need to exit, this will decrease the possibility of needing to cut across traffic to get off the motorway.
C) The CENTER LANE: The average speed of the center lane is 70 mph. this lane is also used for slow moving vehicles who are overtaking even slower vehicles from the slow lane. A rule of thumb, if you are cruising along in the center lane and notice in your rear view mirror a vehicle rapidly approaching, the polite thing to do is indicate and move to the slow lane and let this vehicle pass. If the slow lane is unavailable, then you are well within your right to stay in your lane at your speed. Please note at this point, the Highway code is not just a set of rules in a book, it is actually a code of honor amongst drivers, to show courtesy to your fellow driver actually makes the roads a safer place and increases the joy of driving for all. So if at all possible, do not hog the center lane, if you do not feel like driving at 70 mph the inside lane is there for you.
D) The OVERTAKING LANE: The purpose of this lane is simple, to overtake, nothing more and nothing less. If you are in the center lane doing 70 mph and a lorry pulls into your lane doing 65 mph because he is overtaking another lorry traveling at 50 mph, you have the outside lane to move to so you may maintain your speed at 70 mph until it is safe to move back to the center lane. The outside lane is NOT just another lane to drive in, and it is very important to leave this lane free specifically for overtaking. It is actually illegal to Undertake a car (that is to pass a vehicle from the left hand side) so by driving slowly in the outside lane, you would be forcing other drivers to break the law, should they wish to pass you. Also you would cause me a great deal of personal distress and create in me the desire to curse and swear. So as a rule of thumb, leave the outside lane clear for fast moving vehicles and emergency vehicles.
E) SERVICE STATIONS: It is very important, when doing long motorway journeys, to know where your next service station is and to take breaks. Always make sure you have enough fuel to reach your destination and make sure all your passengers have emptied their bladders, this will save you having to risk life and limb illegally stopping on the hard shoulder so that somebody can take a pee.
F) EMERGENCY PHONES: Scattered along the motorway are these distinctive emergency phones, which are direct lines to help centers who can send out emergency vehicles to help and assist you. Should your vehicle break down, once you have pulled over to the hard shoulder and followed the steps in (A), these phones are scattered ’1 every mile’ along the motorway.
Remember to always leave a 2 second gap between you and the car in front, never operate a mobile phone whilst driving unless you have a hands free kit, and the bald man in the black BMW filling up your rear view mirror could be me, so please move out of the way.
For the Love of driving, hold to the code…
In life, there are rules and codes to govern the way you live and the way you behave. For example: I grew up in east London during the 80′s and one of the codes on the streets back then was you don’t run off your mouth to people you didn’t know, unless you really knew how to fight, if you broke this code in my neighbourhood, you were very likely to end up in hospital.
Now very much in the same way, the roads also have a code which if you stick to, you should do well and enjoy your driving, however if you do break the road code, you may very well end up in hospital, or cause someone else to go there.
The reason I have decided to make a blog specifically about the UK highway code is that I actually passed my driving test in North America, and upon returning to the UK, there were a few differences that I had to learn. For example: in Canada and some U.S States, at a red traffic signal, you are allowed to proceed if you are turning right. (the equivalent in the UK would be to turn left on the Red signal). So even though I had been driving many years, I decided to rehash the highway code just to keep myself up to speed.
There are many accidents which could have been avoided, if the rules of the highway code had been observed, but it is not just about knowing the rules, but understanding why these rules exist. Every code has a reason and as I journey through the streets of the UK, it is astounding how many people break these rules on a daily basis and seem to be oblivious to any code whatsoever.
Over the next few days and weeks, I will be posting a section of the highway code but broken down and explained, this will be useful information if you are about to take your theory test or if you just need brushing up altogether. Also if you plan to visit the UK and rent a car to get around out here, then this is also for you.
If you have any specific questions about the UK highway code, feel free to leave a reply and I will do my best to find the correct answer for you.
Now here is my general observation about driving in London.
North London: I find people tend to speed, there are a lot of boy racers and tailgaters. If you need to drive through North London, you may be forced to put your foot down to keep with traffic flow.
West London: Probably the worst drivers in Britain, absolutely no attention to the road traffic laws, and never have I had so many near misses, I seriously question if many west London drivers even have a valid UK Drivers License.
South London: The most congested roads and the most impatient drivers, I believe it is because the London underground does not serve much of South London, therefore the ratio of people commuting via car is much larger than anywhere else in London.
East London: Surprisingly the most sensible place in London to drive, I have concluded that most of the very serious criminals live in East London and most drivers are some kind of gangster, so they drive very cautiously as to not attract the police’s attention. Don’t be fooled by the 70 year old granny in her 1998 Ford Escort, in East London she is probably a gun smuggler. This has been my personal London experience, so feel free to let me know if you have had similar or different experiences with London traffic.
and “NO” I don’t use the congestion charge zone.
Starting Friday 1st October, the Highway code, here @ Blog Central.