In the UK there have been some recent changes to traffic law. It is being reported that this means a change in the law such saying thank you on the road has become illegal. In the same article it is stated that 19/20 people do it, and this would agreed with my experience:
Saying thanks at the wheel could land drivers with £1,000 fine - as 3 gestures you should not do revealed
National Tyres and Autocare recently did a survey which shows that over one in five drivers flash their headlights as a way of saying thank you. One in three, however, choose the classic wave to say thanks, with one in six opting for a thumbs up. One in 20 drivers don't say thank you at all, the survey said.
The Highway Code is strict on the position in which you should drive. This involves having both hands on the wheel or handlebars "where possible".
Classic wave or thumbs up - Up to £1,000 fine and 3 penalty points
The Highway Code says drivers should only ever flash their headlights "to let other road users know that they are there".
Flashing headlights - Up to £1,000 fine
The code is clear on this and says: "You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. Only use them for long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed."
Hazard lights - Up to £,1000 fine
It is surprisingly hard to find a copy of the old highway code online, but this looks like a government document of the changes between the old and new versions:
For the wave or thumbs up, we can find the quoted text and it exists in both old and new, and is present in the current version online:
Rule 160 Once moving you should
drive or ride with both hands on the wheel or handlebars where possible. This will help you to remain in full control of the vehicle at all times. You may use driver assistance systems while you are driving. Make sure you use any system according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
The rules for he others are not present in the comparison file file (rules 83 to 125 are missing from the comparison file). These are the rule numbers from the current one:
- Flashing headlights.
- Hazard warning lights.
Is it illegal to say thank you while driving? Was it illegal before 29th January 2022? Has anything changed?