We're at the top of a brand new year, and the rules of the road have changed a bit in the last twelve months. There are a couple of new laws that have already been brought into force, whereas other new developments are expected later this year.
If you're planning to buy a vehicle from one of our salvage car auctions in the near future, then it pays to stay on top of everything that's changing. Well, here at RAW2K, we like to make that sort of thing easy for you – here's a quick list of all the most important developments!
The new road hierarchy gives pedestrians right of way
Technically this isn’t a new rule for 2023 – the new road hierarchy, or ‘H rules’, were actually brought in back in 2022, but they’re taking a bit of time to bed in amongst the general public’s consciousness. Basically, the new hierarchy places all road users into different categories, ordered according to who is the most vulnerable, and who has the capacity to cause the most harm.
Pedestrians are at the top of this new road hierarchy as they are the most vulnerable. Cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists are in the next category, followed by car and van drivers. The heaviest vehicles, such as HGVs, are in their own category at the bottom of the hierarchy. The basic idea is that the lower you are in this hierarchy, the more responsibility you have to prevent an accident. This has resulted in a number of small knock-on changes – pedestrians now have right of way on junctions, for example.
The fuel duty rate will change in March 2023
This was another of the big national changes of 2022. The price of fuel continues to be a longstanding concern for drivers, and last year in particular saw several unwelcome records. In July 2022, fuel prices hit their peak, at 191.53p per litre for petrol and 199.05p for diesel. Thankfully they’ve settled a bit now, but ten months ago when they looked to be accelerating out of control, the government was under a lot of pressure to act.
Then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak implemented a 5p cut in fuel duty, with a view to helping families cope with the skyrocketing price of fuel. That 5p cut is due to end in March though, and the Office of Budget Responsibility has hinted that it looks likely to increase. Let’s be honest – it’s not welcome news.
The expansion of London’s ULEZ
Although this development is a little more regional, in fairness, London is quite a big region. That means it’s going to affect about 9 million people directly, and will probably indirectly affect countless more. If you’re not familiar with London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone, here’s a quick recap: it’s an area of London which monitors any vehicles entering its boundaries. If they do not meet the required emissions standards, it levies a daily charge of £12.50. That applies to cars, motorbikes, vans, minibuses, and specialist vehicles.
The scheme is designed to improve air quality within the capital, which kills an estimated tens of thousands of deaths every year. From August 2023, the ULEZ’s boundaries will be expanding. It currently covers all areas within the North and South Circular roads, but in the summer of this year, that will expand to encompass all of capital’s 33 boroughs.
Scotland finally brings in its ban on pavement parking
Pavement parking might seem like a trivial issue to lots of people, but it’s a daily frustration for others, and in some cases can have a relatively severe effect on an individual’s quality of life. This year, Scotland is introducing a ban on pavement parking, one that’s been long-awaited by campaigners. It was first introduced in the Transport Act four years ago, but pushed back until recently.
The delay was a source of anger for lots of people in places like Glasgow, where wheelchair users, people with prams and people with visual impairment have all had to contend with having their path blocked by vehicles parked objectively too far onto the pavement. It’s not a passing annoyance; it often forces vulnerable people out onto the road (sometimes directly into oncoming traffic), which can put their safety at risk. The ban covers double parking, parking at dropped kerbs, and parking on pavements, with authorities empowered to dispense heavy fines to anyone caught doing it.
Don’t ignore the red X
The red X is all about smart motorways. Now if you’ve been driving for anything over a year, there’s a decent chance that you’ve driven on a smart motorway by now. They use traffic management methods (facilitated by cameras and human operators) to increase capacity and reduce congestion in busy areas. They’re controversial and there are major safety concerns associated with them, but that’s for another blog. Here, let’s just focus on the major way in which they can be dangerous when drivers misuse them.
It looks like quite a lot of drivers are still misinterpreting the red X, whether because they don’t understand it, or because they’re deliberately ignoring it. Either way, it can have serious consequences. A red X on an overhead gantry is basically used to close a lane. That means if you spot it, it’s telling you that the lane it’s over has some kind of obstruction, so you need to move out of it as soon as you safely can. That obstruction might be a breakdown, or it might indicate that people are working on the road, or some other kind of obstruction, such as debris. Ignoring it means a potentially fatal collision, so it’s something that the authorities are keen to remind people of moving ahead into 2023.
Speaking of changes for 2023, if you’ve decided that a new car might be on the cards for this year – or if you’re a professional mechanic looking for parts – that’s where we can help here at RAW2K. We’ve got a huge range of salvage cars to choose from in our online car auctions, including many from world-famous brands like BMW, Nissan and Ford. Our auctions are refreshed on a daily and weekly basis, so there are always bargains to be found. Why not take a look around, and see what you can find?