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Make sure you and your car are ready for the road post-lockdown, says GEM

Make sure you and your car are ready for the road post-lockdown, says GEM

Road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist is encouraging drivers to ensure they return to the roads safely as current COVID-19 restrictions are eased. GEM has simple advice for drivers to ensure they stay safe, and tips for keeping their cars in a safe, roadworthy condition.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth commented: “Many people will have reduced or even stopped their road journeys altogether since the most recent lockdown was introduced.

“Now, as restrictions ease and the roads become busier, we encourage drivers to consider their own safety, as well as carry out some basic checks on the car they will be driving – to ensure it’s in the best possible shape.”

Protect yourself

GEM has compiled some simple tips for driver safety:

Always wear a seatbelt, even on the shortest journeys. And ensure everyone in the car with you wears a seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death by 45 per cent for drivers and front seat occupants, and reduces the risk of serious injury by 50 per cent.

Make a point of always knowing the speed limits, and sticking to them. Inappropriate speed accounts for nearly a quarter of collisions which result in death.

Get an eye test. Good eyesight is essential for safe driving, so if you haven’t had your eyes checked in the past 12 months, make a point of booking a professional vision test.

Stay alert, throughout your journey. Banish dangerous distractions such as mobile phones, and ensure you take regular breaks on long journeys.

Spare a thought for others: be courteous and hold back if it might help another driver, a cyclist, pedestrian or other road user. And if your good turn isn’t acknowledged, don’t bear a grudge.

Look after your car

Check your oil and screenwash levels. Check your lights are all clean and working. Check the dashboard. If any warning lights stay on, make sure you know what they mean and take the appropriate corrective action (which could mean not driving the car at all).

Check tyres for tread and pressure. Also, if you haven’t driven for a while, examine the tyre walls to check for any strange lumps or bulges. Anything that doesn’t look right should be checked by a garage as soon as possible.

GEM’s collection of short ‘How to…’ videos will help all car owners conduct basic maintenance on their vehicle. This includes mot checks, tyre pressure and tread, oil and screenwash levels.

GEM is also reminding drivers of some key dates and facts in the government’s recently-published calendar relating to the lifting of restrictions

There is no MOT ‘holiday’ in place. Garages are permitted to operate, so if your vehicle’s MOT is due, you must ensure you get it done.

If your licence expired between 1 February and 31 December 2020 then you benefit from an automatic 11-month extension. Any licence expiring after 1 January 2021 needs to be renewed as normal.

Currently, under ‘stay at home’ rules, supervising a learner driver is only permitted if it’s an essential journey.

Driving lessons are expected to start again on Monday 12 April, with the first driving tests available from Thursday 22 April.

(Dates apply to England. Dates in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales may be different.)

Follow GEM on Twitter @motoringassist for the latest industry news.

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