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Full contents
1-35   Rules for pedestrians
36-46   Rules for users of powered wheelchairs and mobility scooters
47-58   Rules about animals
58-82   Rules for cyclists
83-88   Rules for motorcyclists
89-102   Rules for drivers and motorcyclists
103-158   General rules, techniques and advice for all drivers and riders
159-203   Using the road
204-225   Road users requiring extra care
226-237   Driving in adverse weather conditions
238-252   Waiting and parking
253-273   Motorways
274-287   Breakdowns and incidents
288-290   Road works
291-299   Level crossings
300-307   Tramways
Choosing and maintaining your bicycle  
Motorcycle licence requirements  
Motor vehicle documentation and learner driver requirements  
The road user and the law  
Vehicle maintenance, safety and security  
First aid on the road  
Safety code for new drivers  
Signs & markings
Light signals controlling traffic  
Signals to other road users  
Signals by authorised persons  
Traffic signs
Signs giving orders  
Warning signs  
Direction signs  
Information signs  
Road works signs  
Road markings  
Vehicle markings  

Highway code

Control of the vehicle

117-126   back next >
In normal circumstances. The safest way to brake is to do so early and lightly. Brake more firmly as you begin to stop. Ease the pressure off just before the vehicle comes to rest to avoid a jerky stop.
In an emergency,Brake immediately. Try to avoid braking so harshly that you lock your wheels. Locked wheels can lead to loss of control.
Skids. Skidding is usually caused by the driver braking, accelerating or steering too harshly or driving too fast for the road conditions. If skidding occurs, remove the cause by releasing the brake pedal fully or easing off the accelerator. Turn the steering wheel in the direction of the skid. For example, if the rear of the vehicle skids to the right, steer immediately to the right to recover.
  Highway Code - Skids
ABS. If your vehicle is fitted with anti-lock brakes, you should follow the advice given in the vehicle handbook. However, in the case of an emergency, apply the footbrake firmly; do not release the pressure until the vehicle has slowed to the desired speed. The ABS should ensure that steering control will be retained, but do not assume that a vehicle with ABS will stop in a shorter distance.
121 Brakes affected by water. If you have driven through deep water your brakes may be less effective. Test them at the first safe opportunity by pushing gently on the brake pedal to make sure that they work. If they are not fully effective, gently apply light pressure while driving slowly. This will help to dry them out.
The Highway Code book
The Highway Code
Highway code book
122 Coasting. This term describes a vehicle travelling in neutral or with the clutch pressed down. It can reduce driver control because
engine braking is eliminated
vehicle speed downhill will increase quickly
increased use of the footbrake can reduce its effectiveness
steering response will be affected, particularly on bends and corners
it may be more difficult to select the appropriate gear when needed.
123 The Driver and the Environment. You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road. Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution. However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults. Law CUR regs 98 & 107
Speed Limits
Built-up areas* Single carriage-ways Dual carriage-ways Motorways
Type of vehicle Mph
Cars and motorcycles
(including car-derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30(48) 60 (96) 70 (112) 70 (112)
Cars towing caravans or trailers
(including car-derived vans and motorcycles)
30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 60 (96)
Buses, coaches and minibuses
(not exceeding 12 metres in overall length)
30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)
Goods vehicles
(not exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30 (48) 50 (80) 60 (96) 70 (112)**
Goods vehicles
(exceeding 7.5 tonnes maximum laden weight)
30 (48) 40 (64) 50 (80) 60 (96)
* The 30 mph limit usually applies to all traffic on all roads with street lighting unless signs show otherwise.
** 60 mph (96 km/h) if articulated or towing a trailer.
      Speed limits
You MUST NOT exceed the maximum speed limits for the road and for your vehicle (see the table above). The presence of street lights generally means that there is a 30 mph (48 km/h) speed limit unless otherwise specified. Law RTRA sects 81,86,89 & sch 6
The speed limit is the absolute maximum and does not mean it is safe to drive at that speed irrespective of conditions. Driving at speeds too fast for the road and traffic conditions is dangerous. You should always reduce your speed when
the road layout or condition presents hazards, such as bends
sharing the road with pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders, particularly children, and motorcyclists
weather conditions make it safer to do so
driving at night as it is more difficult to see other road users.
Stopping Distances. Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear. You should
leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops. The safe rule is never to get closer than the overall stopping distance (see Typical Stopping Distances shown below)
allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying faster-moving traffic and in tunnels where visibility is reduced. The gap should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads
  Highway Code - Stopping Distances
remember, large vehicles and motorcycles need a greater distance to stop. If driving a large vehicle in a tunnel, you should allow a four-second gap between you and the vehicle in front.
  If you have to stop in a tunnel, leave at least a 5-metre gap between you and the vehicle in front.
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