As lockdown restrictions further ease in England from the 4th July, as many as 10.5 million motorists are expected to take to the roads on Saturday according to a new RAC study.
It is thought people are planning to take advantage of the lockdown easing to take trips which involve overnights stays.
It is also thought that it could be the busiest weekend on the roads so far this year. The lockdown has muted traffic volumes for months now, particularly over bank holidays which typically see the number of motorists on the roads soar.
But if you are planning to take a trip this weekend, we suggest that you proceed with caution. During lockdown, cars have been off the roads, driving activity has been significantly reduced and new habits may have been formed.
Maintain your vehicle
Many vehicles simply haven’t been being used during lockdown. Staying static on driveways, in garages or roadside parking. And those which have been used have most likely only been driven short distances for essential trips.
So, if this is the first time you are planning to drive further afield it is vital that you carry out some essential maintenance checks before you leave.
We wrote about the importance of maintaining your vehicle during lockdown in May so do take a read of this for more tips.
Key areas to check before you travel include:
- Battery life
- Tyres – pressure and tread
- Oil levels
- Windscreen washer fluid
If you do find something wrong with your vehicle or are concerned, then do visit the garage before your travel. Equally if you have an MOT due then do check rules around this – extensions were granted to some MOT expiry dates during Coronavirus but if your MOT is due from the 1st August extensions will not apply.
Take it easy on the roads
Not only could your vehicle be a risk when it comes to trips this weekend or the coming weeks, but you yourself may be a little uneasy when it comes to getting behind the wheel.
If you have driven no further than the local supermarket since March then driving on unfamiliar roads, or faster roads such as motorways could come as a surprise.
So, take it steady and take account of the fact that your driving activity will have been much lower than normal in recent months. One study found that a fifth of drivers reported struggling with driving again after being off the road for so long during lockdown.
Remind yourself of the rules of the road
It’s always good to remind yourself of the rules of the road before you set off on a long journey. But it may be particularly pertinent now if you have not driven for a prolonged period.
As well as staying up to date with the rules of the road, also keep these areas in mind:
Do not drive distracted – mobile phones should be out of sight and not used whilst driving. Keep hands free calls to a minimum – they can be just as distracting so only use if you absolutely have to
Set up your sat nav before you leave – make sure you are prepared before you leave. You do not want to be distracted by any technology. Keep your focus on the road.
Look out for cyclists – cycling grew in popularity significantly during lockdown. As a result, there may be more cyclists on the road, particularly if the weather is good over the weekend. So, stay alert for cyclists.
Check rules for towing trailers and caravans – if you are planning an overnight stay which involves a caravan or camping then make sure you are aware of any rules around towing. Also make sure you pay proper attention to securing anything that you may be carrying or towing (bike racks, roof boxes etc). Highways England are highlighting this as a potential risk for those setting off on trips this summer.
Check your car insurance – make sure your car insurance is all up to date and reflects any changes in your circumstances which may have taken place over the last few months.
If you are preparing for a journey, whether this weekend or in a few weeks’ time, do give proper attention to your vehicle maintenance. As well as taking into account the fact that you may have driven a lot less in recent months than you usually would. Anthony Jones can help you find the best car insurance for your needs. Get in touch with us or complete our car insurance quote form for more information.