Coordinated by the National Roads Policing Operations and Intelligence group, the campaign seeks to help all road users stay safe as they return to the roads. With an unknown increase in volume of traffic likely over the coming weeks, road users should prepare themselves properly before they start their journeys, whether on foot, cycle or motor vehicle.
Firstly, they should check their tax and insurance are valid, as these can easily be forgotten. While there is an exemption on MoT certificates, there is no relaxation in the law on the requirement for insurance and road tax.
Another anticipated challenge is facing up to the possibility that their road skills have not been used as regularly or for as long, which may mean they need to give themselves time to readjust to being out on the roads. Equally, they will be sharing the roads with many people in the same position and they should be prepared for any journey with extra patience. That is especially true should they feel the temptation to speed, which has been a rising issue during Lockdown.
The vehicles themselves should also be thoroughly checked before setting off. Fuel and oil levels should be appropriate for the journey ahead and TyreSafe is urging drivers to carry out essential checks themselves before they set off on their first journey.
It is the motorists’ responsibility to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy, however, many are not currently checking their vehicles regularly. Instead, many rely on professionals to carry out maintenance checks at annual inspections, such as when they submit their vehicle for a service or its MoT test. While there is an exemption in place for some months to come for vehicles having a current MoT there has been no relaxation on the legal expectation that the vehicle is fit for use.
The importance of checking the vehicle is in roadworthy condition is particularly acute now as many vehicles have been dormant during Lockdown. Vehicles are best maintained through usage and some aspects of their condition deteriorate more quickly when left parked for many weeks, or used only for short distance journeys. Tyres will lose their air pressure over time and harden when they are not used regularly, which can lead to sidewall cracking – a serious safety issue. A ‘flat spot’, where the tyre’s tread has been flattened due to the weight of a vehicle and/or load bearing down on it for an extended period of time, is also possible.