At a glance
- Following a big drop in road travel during lockdown people are beginning to use their cars again as restrictions lift
- Some cars may have been sat unused for longer than ten weeks
- Here we share tips that you can share with your clients to get them back on the road safely
We recently shared our Risk Insight for organisations on planning for a return to driving during COVID-19. Following the lockdown across the United Kingdom to tackle the spread of the virus, road travel decreased significantly. Now the restrictions are beginning to lift which means that people are returning to their vehicles and the roads. However, with cars having sat unused in some cases for more than ten weeks what needs to be done to ensure that they do so safely?
Here we share ten tips that you can share with your clients to help them get back on the road safely.
1) Make sure the driver is ready and fit to drive.
This has been a real time of stress and uncertainty for many people which can have a big impact on health. Whether it’s sleep deprivation, stress or anxiety all of these can take a toll. Before starting driving again it’s worth your clients taking the time to check they’re feeling well enough to do so and also consider a couple of shorter drives before long-distance journeys.
2) Arrange an MOT (if needed)
In a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the government arranged for MOTs to be extended by six months if they expired on or before 30 March 2020. The full details of what car owners need to do can be found here. It is important to keep the vehicle roadworthy regardless of this extension and your clients may want to look into arranging an MOT when restrictions lift and allow them to do so.
3) Check your car insurance
If your clients had cancelled or suspended their car insurance for the lockdown period they will need to make sure that this is set up again before driving anywhere to ensure that they are covered. It is also worth considering whether or not breakdown cover is currently included as having not been used for a while the chances of a vehicle breaking down may have increased.
4) Make sure there is enough fuel in the vehicle
Before setting off on a journey make sure you have enough fuel to get you there. Often after having not driven for a long time or having only done lots of small journeys it’s easy to have lost track of how much fuel was left.
5) Check the tyres
Tyres are more likely to have lost pressure slightly if a car has been unused for a long period of time. Before setting out or as soon as able to get to a petrol station check the tyre pressure and inflate if necessary. It’s also important to check the tyres for any obvious signs of wear or damage and ensure they meet road legal requirements.
6) Check the lights
The lights both front and back should be checked before setting out on a journey – even if it is in daylight. Ensure that front, back, indicator and brake lights are all working effectively.
7) Check oil and water levels
Many new cars will let you know if your oil or water levels are running low, however this is a good opportunity for drivers to check that levels are safe before setting out. The vehicle manual will provide instructions on how to safely do this for the specific model.
8) Take a hand sanitiser with you on your journey or keep one in the car
It’s important to still remain cautious as restrictions begin to be lifted. A good habit to get into is having a hand sanitiser in the car or taking one every time you leave the house. The driver can then clean their hands when getting in and out of the car to prevent spreading the virus onto the inside of their car. It’s important as well to remember this when refuelling; wear gloves if possible, maintain a safe distance and wash or sanitise hands as soon as possible.
9) Be prepared for busier roads
As the country starts to move again we can expect to see many people continuing to avoid public transport, which may lead to busier roads and more bikes or pedestrians. Allow extra time for journeys to avoid any rushing and avoid distractions while driving.
10) Keep in contact
Before your client sets out on a journey they should make sure that they have a phone on them and that it is fully charged. If they should run into any difficulties with their car or breakdown they need to be able to get in touch to ask for help. It’s also important at the moment to take the time before a journey to check that the destination is open and has somewhere to park to save any wasted or unnecessary journeys.
It is also important to continue listen to Government advice and follow the guidance provided. If you have any questions please get in touch with your usual Zurich contact.