Lockdown is bad for your car, or motorcycle. The fuel can go stale, batteries flatten, tyres too. Brakes and wiper blades can stick on, then there’s the vast array of ADAS and automated gadgetry inside a modern car, which may not all work 100% after three months on your driveway. So it is shocking to hear that 1 in 4 drivers just don’t think about it, they simply jump in the car and head off to the shops or a trip to the beach after lockdowns end. Here’s some handy tips from Aviva, stay safe.
With many people looking forward to travelling outside their local areas when restrictions allow, Aviva is urging motorists to carry out essential vehicle checks before they hit the roads.
This prompt by the insurer follows a study carried out during the first national lockdown, which found one in four (28%) motorists carried out no safety checks on their vehicles during the lockdown period. It also found:
- The majority of drivers (68%)* did not check their car tyre treads or their engine oil before hitting the roads after lockdown restrictions eased.
- 67% of drivers hadn’t checked their car lights were in working order.
- Motorists were more likely to clean their cars than carry out roadworthy safety checks.
Sarah Applegate, Head of Risk for Aviva General Insurance said: “Drivers will inevitably be using their cars more often as schools, workplaces, non-essential shops and leisure facilities re-open through the coming months, so they should prepare for this by checking their vehicles and making sure they’re roadworthy.
“If people have any concerns about their vehicles, they should ask a qualified mechanic to investigate.
“It’s important for drivers to make sure their insurance policy suits their future driving needs. If people are likely to use their car significantly more or less post-lockdown, or drivers need to be added or removed from policies, they should inform their insurance provider so their cover can be updated.”
Aviva’s tips for motorists as they get in the driving seat post-lockdown:
- Check your lights: Make sure your headlight covers are clean and check they work properly. If they flicker when tapped, they could be loose or damaged. Replace any blown bulbs or visit a garage to do this job for you.
- Check your tyres: It is important to check your vehicle’s tyres are all the same size and inflated to the correct pressure. They should not have any cuts or other signs of damage. Make sure the tread depth of all tyres is above the minimum legal requirement of 1.6mm by carrying out the 20p test.
- Wipers and windscreen: Drivers should always have a clear view of the road. Make sure wipers are in working order, the washer bottle is topped up and the windscreen is in good condition. Too often drivers forget to top up washer fluids, but this is all the more important before taking a long drive.
- Top up your fluids. In addition to windscreen washer fluids, it’s a good idea to check the engine oil and brake fluid levels, particularly if they haven’t been checked for a while. Again, if you’re unsure about doing this, go to your local garage.
- Number plates should be in good condition and meet legal requirements set out by the DVLA. Make sure that your number plates are clean, secured to your vehicle, and all letters and numbers are easily legible from a distance
- Check your seatbelts: Seatbelts play a crucial role in terms of road safety, so take a moment to ensure your seatbelts aren’t damaged or frayed, that they work properly and click into place securely.
- Check warning lights: Ensure your dashboard is not showing any warning lights. If a light is showing, refer to your vehicle’s handbook to work out what the issue is and take the necessary steps to fix the issue, or take it to a professional mechanic to both identify and fix.
- Consider an interim service: If you do not feel comfortable performing the above checks yourself you may want to book in an interim service to do this for you.