The rules of the road change constantly, sometimes as new procedures are implemented, sometimes as a result of lessons learnt from incidents and sometimes because the world around us is constantly changing and evolving too.
When we first studied to pass our driving test, we focussed on a key set of these rules and procedures in order to pass the test, and although many of these rules are still valid today, there were many others which will have changed.
Although we focus on driving in Spain, we do know that many of our readers sometimes return to their native countries, and so we thought it might be useful to share some of the most recent changes to the U.K. Highway code.
Smoking laws have changed. In England and Wales, the driver MUST NOT smoke or allow anyone to smoke in an enclosed private vehicle carrying someone under 18, including motor caravans. This became law on 1 October 2015.
It is not just the police who have the power to stop vehicles. Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency officers have powers to stop vehicles on all roads, including motorways and trunk roads, in England and Wales. They will attract your attention by flashing amber lights either from the front requesting you to follow them to a safe place to stop, or from behind directing you to pull over to the side by pointing and/or using the left indicator. It is an offence not to comply with their directions. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency replaced the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency who previously had these powers in April 2014.
Dangerous driving now commands a much higher fine than ever before. The £5,000 limit on fines for the most serious offences was removed on 5 June 2015. These now carry an unlimited fine.
Some vehicles have been allowed to go faster. The national speed limit for lorries on single carriageways increased from 40 mph to 50 mph on 6 April 2015.
The maximum permitted alcohol limit is different in Scotland. The legal limits for breath alcohol in Scotland was lowered from 5 December 2014. The limit is 35 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath in England and Wales.
If you would like to be kept up to date with U.K. traffic laws, you can follow The Highway Code on Twitter (@HighwayCodeGB) or Facebook, or sign up to get a weekly email reminder about different rules and regulations.
It is always a good idea to keep up to date and be reminded of rules we may have got a bit rusty on. Driving can be a dangerous event, but we can all do our bit to try to make the roads a safer place.