The global coronavirus pandemic has brought changes to our way of life that no one could have imagined. Social distancing and lockdowns have had a massive impact on the way we work, spend time as families, as well as take care of loved ones.
Slowly, but surely, restrictions are being lifted and people are spending more time travelling and working. For more and more people across the country, life is getting closer to normal. However, with so many more people making their commutes to work again, and taking kids to school, there are more cars back on the road.
There are many things every driver should be considering when on the roads today, whether they are getting back on the road more after spending a lockdown at home or they have spent the entire period driving as an essential worker. Here are three things all drivers should know when returning to the roads as the restrictions on travel are removed and people return to work.
Consider Your Car’s Maintenance
Many people may be returning to the road for the first time in a long time, and it is not just them, but often their cars are too. If you have been spending a lot of time at home in the last few months, then your car has probably spent a lot of time sat in its regular parking space. Even if you have managed to give it a spin around the block every day or two, it still may need some basic maintenance to be ready for dual carriageways or the motorway.
Check your car’s water levels, and the quality and amount of oil in the engine using your car’s dipstick. You may need to top both of these up if your car has been sat for a long time. Brake fluid is also a concern, and if you are suffering from squeaky brakes and your car doesn’t respond the same under braking, you should consult your car owner’s manual and maintenance schedule. Your car’s brakes may need attention if it has spent a lot of time standing still.
Your car’s tyres and your car’s battery should also be checked. Tyre pressure is important to your car’s stability as well as braking distance, and this may have decreased over time. Tyres can also be worn by the weather when stood still, especially by the sun. Check each tyre’s tread and pressure before driving it. The battery may be low or even flat after a long time unused. If your car does run, remember to keep the engine running for a long time to recharge your battery. You don’t have to drive the car, but keep the engine running to make sure you have enough power to start it again next time or you may find yourself suddenly stranded.
Check Your Paperwork
Having spent so much time under lockdown, and with so much uncertainty about whether children would return to school or not, many people may have let their car’s licensing, tax, and insurance lapse. Some may have decided not to renew their road tax or car insurance while under lockdown or on furlough from their work.
Make sure you have your paperwork up to date. If you need a car insurance policy, or you want to find a better quote, then you should try searching for a deal through a platform that lets you compare the prices of each provider to get you the best quote possible.
It will be important to have all your documents up to date, as more vehicles will be getting randomly checked as more restrictions are lifted and life returns to normal. Vehicles that lack road tax or adequate insurance will be quickly spotted by traffic cameras and mobile police units.
Know the Restrictions, and Your Limits
The restrictions placed upon the public by COVID-19 will change over time, and can also change based on your location. ‘Local Lockdowns’ can be placed on towns, cities, and even counties. Restrictions may also be placed on the number of miles people can travel in a day or routes into or through areas that can be taken. It is important to keep up to date with both local and national restrictions and advisories. Drivers should also use the radio to check for local and national news bulletins when driving.
Drivers should also be aware of their limits when driving. When returning to the roads after an extended absence, many drivers suffer from a drop in driving performance and confidence. It is important to give yourself time to build up experience and confidence on quieter and more familiar roads before embarking on long-distance travel or high-speed motorway driving.
Every driver should be aware of the impact that the return of so many cars and drivers is going to have on the roads. Even if you have been driving throughout the lockdown, you should still consider your car’s maintenance and keeping your documents up to date.