A number of changes are being introduced in the new version of the Highway Code. These came into force on 29 January 2022.
The principle change is the introduction of three new rules (H1, H2 and H3) which create a hierarchy of road users. The ‘Hierarchy of Road Users’ is a concept that places those road users most at risk in the event of a collision (cyclists, pedestrians etc) at the top of the hierarchy. The hierarchy does not remove the need for everyone to behave responsibly.
You can see all the changes highlighted in this document.
Highway Code Rule 98 relates to vehicle towing and loading. It states before towing:
As a driver:
- you MUST NOT tow more than your licence permits.
- you MUST ensure that both your vehicle and your trailer is in a roadworthy condition. This includes checking that all tyres are legal, the trailer braking system is in full working order and all trailer lights are working correctly
- you MUST NOT overload your vehicle or trailer. You should not tow a weight greater than that recommended by the manufacturer of your vehicle
- you should distribute the weight in your caravan or trailer evenly with heavy items over the axle(s) and ensure a downward load on the tow ball. The manufacturer’s recommended weight and tow ball load should not be exceeded. This should minimise the possibility of swerving or snaking and loss of control
- you MUST secure your load and it MUST NOT stick out dangerously. Make sure any heavy or sharp objects and any animals are secured safely. If there is a collision, they might hit someone inside the vehicle and cause serious injury
- if your vehicle is narrower than your trailer or load, or your trailer or load obstructs your rearward view, then towing mirrors MUST be used
- your trailer MUST be fitted with a secondary coupling device, such as a safety chain (e.g. breakaway cable)
Carrying a load or pulling a trailer may require you to adjust your headlights during towing.
It goes on to stress that as a driver:
- you should be aware that reduced speed limits apply (see Rule 124)
- you should be aware that your stopping distance may increase significantly when towing (see Rule 126)
- you MUST NOT drive in the right-hand lane on motorways with three or more lanes (see Rule 265) •
- if the trailer starts to swerve or snake, or you lose control, ease off the accelerator, and reduce speed gently to regain control. Do not brake harshly.
In the event of a breakdown, be aware:
- that towing a vehicle on a tow rope is potentially dangerous. You should consider using a solid tow bar or professional recovery
- it may take longer to build up speed when re-joining a carriageway (see also Rule 278).