Drivers have been urged to check the rules of the road before packing the car for a half-term getaway. The call comes from Admiral Car Insurance after its research showed 44 percent of drivers have not checked the Highway Code for more than 20 years, despite changes including the introduction of smart motorways.

With kids off school and foreign holidays more difficult than they might ordinarily be, Admiral has told drivers to make sure they are up-to-date with the latest laws before they set off. In particular, the insurance company has urged motorists to check the rules surrounding vehicle loading before packing the car.

The organisation has highlighted a range of different rules drivers could be in danger of contravening unless they swot up on the Highway Code. Chief among these are rules regarding the carriage of pets in the vehicle, as well as laws on carrying bicycles.

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Admiral says drivers should ensure pets are properly restrained in the vehicle, for their own safety, as well as that of passengers. And the company has warned drivers to ensure rear-mounted bike racks do not obscure the car’s registration.

Similarly, the company suggests checking a vehicle’s maximum payload before cramming the car full of luggage. With a fine of up to £5,000 for overloading the vehicle, Admiral says drivers should check the maximum luggage load and the maximum roof loading for their vehicle before packing for their holidays.

“Many of us will be packing our cars this half term for a trip away or a day out but care should be taken when loading up to avoid unwittingly breaking the law,” said Clare Egan, the head of motor product at Admiral. “Drivers should keep up to date with the changing rules of the road to make sure they’re not hit unexpectedly with any fines or penalty points.

“It could also have an effect on their car insurance. Like most insurers, Admiral has terms and conditions of cover to ensure people are driving safely and this includes how they load their car. We may refuse a claim if the cause was passengers being carried insecurely or illegally or if the car was carrying a load unsafely.

“The best things customers can do to protect themselves is to take account of all the safety advice out there and follow it. Doing so should prevent any question of a claim being rejected, but more importantly should reduce the risk of you having an accident in the first place.”