UK driving laws: changes you may have missed

The past 18 months have been challenging for us all and it's been easy to miss some of the new laws on the road.

There seems to be a new driving law made every few weeks at the moment, there's no wonder it's been so hard to keep up.

From smart motorways to speed limits, 2021 has already thrown up some weird, and some genius changes.

But don't worry, we have compiled all of the new rules of the road so you don't get caught out, if you, like most, haven't quite caught up on them yet.

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Smart motorways

There has already been a ton of controversy surrounding smart motorways ever since their inception.

This is predominantly due to safety concerns as there is no hard shoulder and therefore nowhere to pull over if you have an issue with your car or if there's an emergency.

On smart motorways, when a red X appears above one of the lanes, it means that a vehicle has broken down in that lane, and Highways England has said it will be illegal to drive in a lane marked this way from now on.

They also said that if you feel like your car is breaking down, 'go left', and get as far over to that side as possible, to make it easier to manage the flow of traffic.

Speed limit in residential areas

Many people have been calling for a change to the speed limits around residential areas from 30 to 20 and that's exactly what the Welsh government has imposed in eight areas in the country.

If the new legislation is successful, then it could be rolled out across the whole country by 2023.

It's unknown yet whether this will be introduced across the whole of the UK, though it is being trialled in parts of England, including London.

EU travelling

Despite the UK leaving the European Union, the decision that required UK residents to have a green card to prove they were insured to drive their car has been scrapped.

If driving your own car, you will need to take your V5C logbook with you, and even if your car has a GB logo on the number plate, you will still be required to put a GB sticker on the back of your car.

Mobile phone use

You could get six points on your license and a £200 fine if you are caught holding your mobile phone or sat nav while driving.

There was a previous loophole that meant you could get away with taking photos or videos while driving, but that has now been closed by the UK government.

If you are scrolling through a playlist or changing your destination on your map, this will still count as 'holding' and a fixed penalty could come your way.


E10 fuel

A fuel designed to reduce carbon emissions called E10 could be introduced later this year.

95% of all cars will be able to use this petrol, however, cars made pre-2011 may not be eligible.

Green number plates

If you drive a car that is electric or produces zero emissions, then you will have a green number plate.

This is to promote green vehicles and will assist in them getting cheaper parking and other access in low emission zones.

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Speed limiters

Speed limiters will be mandatory in all new cars in 2022. 

These are an intelligent system that notifies a driver if they are going too fast and will automatically step in if the car doesn't slow down.

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