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The Highway Code

The Highway Code is a series of guidelines, rules and regulations laid down by the Department for Transport (DFT), which aims to help both fully qualified and learner drivers understand the ‘rules of the road’ when driving. The Highway Code also includes guidelines, rules and regulations for pedestrians and cyclists.

Learning the Highway Code

When learning to drive you must have a full understanding of the Highway Code as it is important not only for the Theory Test and Hazard Perception Test but also when you are out behind the wheel of a motor vehicle whilst taking lessons and ultimately your practical test.

The purpose of both the Theory Test and Hazard Perception Test is to ensure that all learner drivers have some grounding in the Highway Code before they begin to learn to drive within the confines of a motor vehicle and under instruction. It is important to be conversant with the Highway Code simply because as drivers we cannot always have someone with us to identify hazards and signals.


The Highway Code contains a section on signals which are used by drivers to give an indication as to their movements – or planned movements. Within the Highway Code, you will find detailed lists and diagrams of signals, what they are used for, and in what circumstances they may be employed.

Control of Your Vehicle

The Highway Code also includes a detailed section on how to best control your vehicle whilst driving. This includes how to brake in emergency conditions, how to drive in wet or bad weather conditions and how to avoid skidding out of control whilst driving. There are many other aspects to controlling your vehicle of course and these include:

  • Speed Limits
  • Parking
  • Turn in the Road (Previously known as the 3-Point Turn)
  • Stopping Distances

Road Markings

The Highway Code also gives detailed information on how to read road markings and lane markings whilst driving. This includes what double yellow lines and double white lines are for, why lane dividers are necessary and how to and at what markings should you stop your vehicle or move to another lane.


It is important to remember that if you are already a qualified driver there are changes being made to the Highway Code quite regularly so keeping up to speed with it is a productive use of your time, especially if you spend a considerable amount of time on the road.

For learner drivers the Highway Code is almost like a bible and learning it thoroughly will help you pass your test and keep safe on the roads.

You can buy a copy of the Highway Code from all good bookshops and from most driving schools. Indeed it is now becoming common for a driving instructor to include a copy in the price of lessons.

The Department of Transport also operates an online version of the Highway Code which includes links to the Theory Test website where you can undertake practice tests to see if your knowledge is at – or beyond - the desired level.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated March 2016.