Put 'code' after the word 'highway', though, and you get a different sort of feeling. Here, 'code' has the rather more boring implication of a set of rules you're supposed to follow, rather than some exciting cipher waiting to be cracked. Having said that, there are some bits of the Highway Code that are the next best thing to secrets. So without further ado, here's our clickbaity-looking list of the top ten Highway Code secrets you might not know about. Look for the answers underneath, and let us know how you get on in the comments section below!
2) We all love a well-pressed car horn, and most of us know that you're not allowed to sound it in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am, but there is another (surprisingly common) scenario when you mustn't give someone the horn. When is that?
3) Other than for holders of medical exemption certificates, is there any driving scenario in which you're not legally obliged to wear a seatbelt?
4) Your mate's 911 has broken down (ha!) and he's conned you into rescuing him with that trailer you stupidly bought. Which way around should you load his infernal machine?
6) Some of the folk you see on the road these days look like they can't see their own noses, let alone the traffic around them, grumble mutter etc. Do the police have the power to make drivers take an eyesight test?
7) As we know, it is now illegal to smoke in private vehicles carrying someone under 18 years of age. Does that apply to convertibles, though? And what if your car has a sunroof that's open? Is it OK to smerk tabs in that, irrespective of who else is coughing their lungs up next to you?
9) Cycling on the pavement: that's OK isn't it? Especially if you faithfully promise never to wear Lycra?
10) What about using my mobile while cycling home from the pub?
1) All sidelights and rear reg plate lights must be lit between sunset and sunrise. Headlights must be switched on at night unless you're on roads with lit street lighting, which are generally signified by their 30mph speed limits. 'Night' (or 'the hours of darkness') in this context is defined as the period between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise.
3) You don't have to wear a seatbelt if you're making deliveries or collections in goods vehicles when travelling less than 50 metres (6:99).(Laws RTA 1988 sects 14 & 15, MV(WSB)R, MV(WSBCFS)R & MV(WSB)(A)R)
4) Winch (or peevishly push) your mate's 911 on back to front, so that its front end is pointing back down the road. Because as the Code says (5:98) you should "properly distribute the weight in your caravan or trailer with heavy items mainly over the axle(s) and ensure a downward load on the tow ball". Towing a vehicle on a tow rope is chided by the Code as "potentially dangerous".
6) Yes, the police can require a driver to take an eyesight test (Laws RTA 1988 sect 96 & MV(DL)R reg 40 & sch 8)
8) Yes: somewhat incredibly, a powered mobility scooter can be driven along a dual carriageway as long as (a) it's a 50mph maximum road and (b) your motorised cake trolley has a flashing amber beacon (3:46).
9) Cycling on the pavement is not ok, in fact you can be fined up to £500 for it. And as for wearing Lycra on or off the pavement, this is not yet compulsory, but the Highway Code says that your clothing should be, "tight fitted to prevent it getting tangled in the chain or wheel of your bicycle".
10) Although there is nothing in the Highway Code specifically prohibiting the use of a mobile phone while riding, you "should" keep both hands on the handlebars except when signalling or changing gear. So as long as you are always doing one of those two things, it might be ok, but we didn't tell you that. Realistically, you'd have to shout quite a bit to make yourself heard while signalling right or left, and you'd do well to hear the reply. As for riding while bladdered, section 68 says that "cyclists must not ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs". And "drugs" in this context includes "some medications", so your carefully-worded Tiger Woods defence probably won't work...