DVSA issues urgent Highway Code warning to Britons driving on the motorway

A UK motorway

The DVSA is urging drivers to brush up on their knowledge of motorway rules

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 30/08/2023

- 13:53

Drivers must be aware of the important road rules when travelling on the UK's network of motorways

Motorists are being urged to ensure they are familiar with the Highway Code after the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) issued a warning.

Posting on social media, the DVSA advised drivers to give themselves a refresher of the Highway Code and the most important road rules.

The post specifically highlighted the information on the motorway and how drivers should act before and during their time on the motorway.

It read: “Rule 254 of The Highway Code is about driving on the motorway. It's important to read The Highway Code rules to ensure you're being a responsible road user.”

Highway Code and an L plate

The Highway Code has 21 rules for motorway driving


The Highway Code dedicates more than 20 rules to motorway driving and includes guidance on signals, lane discipline, overtaking and stopping.

As mentioned in the social media post, Rule 254 states that traffic on motorways usually travels faster than on other roads, meaning motorists have less time to react.

When in this scenario, it is important for drivers to use their mirrors earlier and look much further ahead than they would on other roads.

The Highway Code also provides guidance on the types of vehicles that are prohibited from being used on motorways around the UK.

This includes pedestrians, riders of motorcycles under 50 cc (4 kW), cyclists, horse riders, certain slow-moving vehicles and those carrying oversized loads (except by special permission), agricultural vehicles, and powered wheelchairs/powered mobility scooters.

Drivers who are still using their provisional motorcycle or car licences are also not allowed on the motorway unless the driver of the car is being accompanied by an approved driving instructor and is displaying red L plates.

When travelling on the motorway, drivers should stick to the left lane unless they are overtaking. Drivers should then return to the left lane when it is safe to do so, as referenced in Rule 264.

Rule 269 instructs drivers that they must not use a hard shoulder except in an emergency or if directed to do so by the police, traffic officers or a traffic sign.

If the hard shoulder is being used as an extra lane, drivers must not use it if there is a red X or if there is a blank sign on the gantry above.

In April, the Government announced that all new smart motorways would be scrapped as a result of financial pressures and a lack of confidence felt by drivers.

As part of this change, plans for new smart motorways were cancelled and any new developments earmarked for after 2025 were also ditched.

The Government also pledged £900million in safety improvements to existing smart motorways.


A UK smart motorway

Smart motorways were scrapped earlier this year


Commenting on the decision to do so, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “All drivers deserve to have confidence in the roads they use to get around the country. That’s why last year I pledged to stop the building of all new smart motorways, and today I’m making good on that promise.”

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