The government is offering drivers the chance to have their say on proposed changes to the Highway Code – the book that dictates many rules of the road. Highways England, the government-run company that manages the country’s motorways and major A-roads, says it wants to canvass drivers for their opinions on changes to the rulebook.

Highways England is working with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to create the next iteration of the code, with plans to include a new 18-point action plan to improve safety. Among these 18 proposed changes is further information for motorists on the use of so-called ‘smart motorways’, which use the former hard shoulder as an additional ‘live’ lane.

This information is set to include explanations of the availability, appearance and safe use of emergency areas, clearer information on the use of the red X sign to close lanes, and how road users can help keep themselves safe in the event of a breakdown or emergency. Other fresh guidance will include sections on the use of variable speed limits to manage congestion, how speed cameras are used on smart motorways, and the enforcement of lane closures marked by a red X.

UK smart motorway network

Furthermore, Highways England also wants to update the guidance on “key factors that contribute to safety-related incidents”, including guidance on driving while tired and unroadworthy vehicles. This will incorporate sections on safe towing, tailgating and driving in roadworks.

But before the updated Highway Code is decided upon, Highways England is running a four-week consultation that allows members of the public to have their say. Jeremy Phillips, Highways England’s head of road safety, said the revamped code would help improve safety for motorists.

“The Highway Code is the go-to guide for road users to help make journeys as safe, efficient and sustainable as possible,” he said. “We know more needs to be done to help motorists understand exactly how modern motorways and high-speed roads operate.

“The updated edition of The Highway Code will help inform the next generation of road users as well as giving important updates to those with many miles under their belt, to help us all stay safer.”

The consultation is already open for submissions, and Highways England will accept any contributions until 23:59 on March 29. Using the consultation webpage, motorists can give the organisation their feedback on the proposals and make suggestions.