UK road laws are changing.
Some new road laws have already come into place, with more set to change the way we look after our vehicles later this year.
We’ve joined forces with the experts at Halfords to round up the essential bits of information all drivers need to know.
So read on to stay up to date with the latest updates to British laws with this essential guide.
1. Learners can use the motorway now
For the first time learner drivers are allowed to take lessons on the motorway. Instructors must be properly licensed and have dual controls. This law should help learners become better prepared for driving on high speed roads – making our motorways safer.
This follows a change in December which saw using a sat nav form part of the driving test. This was partly introduced because around a quarter of accidents involving new drivers are caused by them being distracted trying while using one.
Tip: For added peace of mind, fit a dashcam. While they won’t prevent an accident, investing in one can offer peace of mind. Having one means that if something were to happen, you’d have video evidence to back up your version of events. Because of this, they can even be used to lower your insurance premium.
2. Your diesel must be clean
The quest to clean up diesel continues as MOTs are expanded to check particulate filters. If your car produces any visible smoke during the MOT then it will fail. Similarly if your particulate filter has been tampered with then you will also fail. Make sure your diesel is running well and as cleanly as possible before your test.
Tip: Some diesel problems are complicated, but make sure your car has the right oil levels and is using the correct oil.
3. There are penalties for driving in the wrong motorway lane
Smart motorways have lanes which can be opened and closed via electronic signs on the overhead gantry. This allows for better traffic flow during peak times by using the hard shoulder for additional capacity.
If, however, you ignore the signs when a lane is closed you will be liable for a fixed penalty of £100 and three points. On many motorways you’ll be automatically photographed if you break this rule and you’ll get a fine as well as notice of penalty points in the post.
Tip: A sat nav won’t help with smart motorways, but they can alert you to possible traffic delays and reroute you.
4. Low tyre pressure is now an MOT fail
Before you go to your MOT make sure you’ve checked your tyre pressures are correct. MOT testers are on the lookout for tyres that are underinflated and aside from that it’s important for safety to make sure your tyres are correctly inflated.
Tip: Make sure you have a tyre pressure checker at home so you can keep an eye on your tyres. A footpump or electric pump is a great way to keep tyres at the right pressure.
5. It’s very easy to fail an MOT for a broken car bulb – get a Free Car Check to make sure they’re working
As many as 30 per cent of MOT fails are because of lighting or signalling problems. So make sure your horn works and walk around the car checking all the lights – make sure the car is parked safely and the handbrake is on first, or you can reverse up against a wall to check brake and reverse lights.
Tip: Some motor stores and garages offer a free car check and will ensure your car bulbs are all working as they should. The check also includes:
- Wiper Blades Check
- Battery Check
- Car Bulb Check
- Battery Check
- Engine Oil Check
- Windscreen Chip Check
- Plus a FREE Screenwash Top Up
6. Headlight washers are crucial now
It might seem odd, but if your car has headlight washers fitted, and was registered after September 2009, then they must work.
7. In three years you’ll need working daytime lights
A few years ago no cars had daytime running lights but these days it’s hard to find a new car without them.
Because they help with making your car more visible it’s worth making sure they are working. In three years time cars registered after March 2018 (and tested in 2021) will need to have working running lights.
Tip: There’s not much to do now but if you are having problems with your running lights then seek help.
8. An old car might not need an MOT
If you’re lucky enough to own a classic car that’s over 40 years old then it won’t need an MOT any more. This, however, requires that the car is largely unmodified from its original form. You’ll need to declare that it hasn’t been modified each time you re-tax your vehicle (even if the tax is free on your car).
Tip: Just because you don’t need an MOT, doesn’t mean you can neglect your car safety.