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Driving rule changes for 2019

5 minutes

2019 brings in some new laws and driving rules that every driver should have their head around before they hit the road.

There are often minor tweaks to driving rules – most of the time they pass us by, especially if we’re usually safe and vigilant behind the wheel. But 2019 brings in some new laws and rules, let’s take a look what they are. 

Overtaking cyclists

If you live in a built up area (or even if you don’t), you’ll know how important it is to leave enough space between your car and a cyclist when attempting to overtake. But now, Highway Code rules specify that you must leave at least 1.5 metres when passing a bike in your car. The penalty if you don’t? A £100 fine and three unwelcome points on your licence. Ouch.  
 

Learner drivers on the motorway

Motorway driving plays a large part in the development of confidence behind the wheel. It makes sense, then, that learner drivers are now allowed on these busier, faster roads during lessons. But hold on before you jump in the car with a young learner in your household and head for the M25... Learner drivers must be accompanied by a qualified instructor who has dual control of the vehicle to be allowed on any motorway in the UK

Stricter rules on smart motorways

Smart motorways seem to be popping up everywhere. They use flow technology to help traffic, well, flow more freely and ease congestion on some of the UK’s busiest routes. One feature of these clever carriageways is the red ‘X’ lane – and while driving in it has always been an offence – you could now be punished by way of a £100 fine and an automatic three points on your licence. Not a smart move.

Increased road tax 

Changes to road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), increased on 1 April 2019, as per the 2018 Budget. Yes, millions of motorists can expect to pay more on their cars, vans and bikes once the changes kick in. So what does this mean for you? 

In a nutshell, the price hike will be in line with the Retail Price Index, which should result in a £5 increase for motorists with cars registered before 1 April 2017. Owners of higher emissions vehicles (diesels, for example) could be stung for an extra £15 a year, and new car buyers can expect an additional VED bill of £65 on cars registered after 1 April 2019. 

Learner drivers must be accompanied by a qualified instructor who has dual control of the vehicle to be allowed on any motorway in the UK

Tougher MOT tests

While not strictly a 2019 change, it’s worth remembering the tougher new MOT test rules – especially if your car is due in the garage for the first time since they took effect. From now, your MOT mechanic will be checking…

If tyres are obviously underinflated
If the brake fluid has been contaminated
For fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
Brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
Reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
Headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
Daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 

And as with any MOT test, it’s always best to do your own check of the basics (warning lights, oil, mirrors, for example), so it doesn’t fail on something minor and cost you the price of another test. If you want to find out more about MOT test changes, head to gov.uk.

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