ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to ensure they and their cars are ‘ready for the road’ ahead of any longer journeys this summer. As lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, GEM is expecting more and more people to get back behind the wheel, possibly for the first time in many months. That’s why the group is issuing a selection of simple tips for drivers to check their own fitness and to make sure the car they plan to use is properly maintained.
GEM’s six tips for post-lockdown road journeys this summer:
1 Are you ready and fit to drive?
The past months have brought unprecedented stress and worry for many, and this can have a significant impact on health. So before embarking on any long journey, take time to confirm you’re feeling well, fit and properly rested.
2 Check your documents
You should ensure you’re legally allowed to be behind the wheel, so make sure your licence is in date. Some extensions were permitted during lockdown, but don’t take for granted that the date of licence expiry will automatically have been extended.
The same goes for your vehicle. Did you suspend insurance payments while you were not using it? Get them reactivated, and also make sure your car is taxed. There has been no MOT extension during the recent lockdown, so if your car is more than three years old you must have an MOT in place.
3 Get your car checked
Make sure your car is roadworthy. Start with the tyres, which are more likely to have lost pressure if your car has been standing idle for a long period. It’s also important to check the tyres for any obvious signs of wear or damage and ensure they meet road legal requirements. If you’re not sure what to look for, take a look at GEM’s simple video guide to tyre checks, and other vehicle maintenance basics.
4 Check your breakdown cover
If you haven’t used your car for a long while, the risk of breaking down is likely to have increased. Just make sure your breakdown cover is current and paid up and that it will provide the assistance you need should anything go wrong on a journey.
5 Be prepared for busy roads
Lots of factors tell us the roads will be busier. For example, more people will be holidaying in the UK because of ongoing foreign travel restrictions, while many continue to avoid public transport, putting additional vehicles on the road. Plan to travel at times when the roads will be quieter, and build in extra time for your journeys.
6 Stay safe
Before setting off, make sure you pack masks and hand sanitiser for every occupant. Strict social distance rules are in place at motorway service stations, so please be patient if you have to queue for longer – and follow the signage that’s been put in place to minimise the risk of infections.
GEM chief executive Neil Worth commented: “A few simple steps can help ensure that you and your car are ready for longer journeys. But if you have been off the road for some considerable while, give yourself time to readjust and to get those observation skills working as well as possible.
“An alert driver in a properly-maintained car means a low risk of anything going wrong.”
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