Latest Study Shows 50% of Drivers Haven’t Read Highway Code in Years

Do you know when the last time you looked at the Highway Code was? For most people, it’s definitely been a few years, as their driving skills have evolved to the point they don’t need to. However, more than half of all drivers in the UK have admitted that they haven’t looked at the Highway Code once since they passed their test - many of whom became legal drivers decades ago.

Outdated Knowledge?

Of course, everyone knows about the Highway Code and why it’s important - it is a set of guidelines which must be followed by all drivers when they’re out on the roads to protect themselves and others.

The code is meant to protect people and advise them on all aspects of driving. Road safety, signage, markings, speed limits, general advice on how to handle an emergency, the rules and guidelines on overtaking and vehicle maintenance are all covered in the Highway Code. It’s the holy Bible of safe driving so it makes sense that people would follow it to the best of their ability, but if you don’t know what’s in the code, how do you expect to follow the rules laid down within it?

There are clear and discernible rules for the Highway Code, and obvious sanctions if a motorist decides to break them. You might assume that would be enough, but the truth is a little bit different.

A Disturbing Number

A recent survey that was conducted by more than 2000 drivers said that a shocking 55% of them hadn’t looked at the Highway Code at all since getting their license when they were however old.

Furthermore, the survey, conducted by Go Compare, showed that some people hadn’t looked at the Highway Code in more than 40 years of driving - those over the age of 60 who got their license as teenagers.

The survey follows a recent report which suggested that 51% of all drivers have admitted to feeling unsafe and unsure about the new changes to the Highway Code made back in 2022. They aren’t sure if these changes have actually done anything at all to increase safety on the roads or whether it has arguably made things less safe.

Only 18% of all drivers believe that the new rules are going to protect pedestrians from harm, and 31% feel that they’re probably in even more danger than before. This is especially clear when you ask people about the proper hierarchy of the road and how it should be.

For example, an update to rule 170 of the Highway Code says that all drivers need to give way to pedestrians while they are turning in and out of a junction. However, it is thought that only 23% of all drivers do this. Moreover, 48% of these drivers say that they only give way “most of the time”.

Compulsory Examination?

It’s clear that most people don’t understand how the modern Highway Code works, which has left many people wondering if there should be compulsory retesting. Perhaps it’s necessary to retest every few years in order to guarantee that people can continue to be safe on the road.