The Highway Code is being updated with new guidance on motorway driving as authorities aim to improve road safety. Draft changes to the document, which lays out the dos and don’ts of UK roads, include new advice on how to use smart motorways, as well as reiterating the rules in place on such highways.

Drafted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and Highways England, the government-run organisation in charge of the country’s motorways, the document provides “clearer advice” on where to stop in an emergency. The draft changes also include guidance on the importance of not driving in lanes closed by a red ‘X’ and the use of variable speed limits.

The changes also include updated guidance on “key factors that contribute to safety-related incidents”, such as driving while tired and unroadworthy vehicles. Other topics covered include safe towing, tailgating and driving in roadworks.

UK motorway services roadworks cones

In total, 33 existing rules will be amended and two new rules will be introduced. The updated code will also include a number of “amendments” to the additional information found in the document and its annexes. Highways England said the changes were drafted after a consultation took in the recommendations of more than 3,000 people and organisations, with Highways England saying the feedback caused the proposals to be “amended and improved”.

The organisation said the changes to the code were part of its “commitment to provide clearer information” for road users and to “further improve safety” on England’s major routes. The new draft guidance is expected to become a finalised part of the Highway Code later this year.

Heavy traffic on UK motorway in England

“The updates to The Highway Code will help everyone who uses our busiest roads,” said Jeremy Phillips, Highways England’s head of road safety. “Thanks to the input from road users, we have been able to produce clearer guidance on how to use our motorways and major A-roads which will make journeys even safer.

“The new edition of The Highway Code can give everyone on our roads the confidence that they have the knowledge and skills to safely get from A to B.”

The news comes as the Highway Code turns 90 years old this year, and follows a study by the AA Driving School, which found drivers want more information on smart motorways. The company’s survey of more than 14,000 drivers found 72 percent thought the code should be “updated” with more information on the controversial roads.

Six in 10 drivers (62 percent) also told the AA Driving School they wanted to see more information on electric vehicles (EVs). This, they said, included extra information on charging infrastructure and the meaning of certain road signs related to EVs.

UK smart motorway network