We know that road traffic accidents are still the most common type of personal injury claim and also the focus of recent regulatory changes. While the data for a return to “freedom” has been delayed a number of times, many restrictions have finally been lifted and we may yet see a significant increase in traffic numbers as individuals and families look to reclaim their freedom.
It is therefore important to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and you yourself are in the right frame of mind to drive. We have put together a list of simple tips to help you enjoy your summer road trips:-
Ensure your vehicle is well maintained
Many parts of the UK have experienced a degree of lockdown for well over a year. Furlough and the option to work from home means that many vehicles have not been used on a regular basis for some time. However, if your vehicle was deemed not roadworthy and you were involved in a road traffic accident there could be serious repercussions. Some of the simple checks you should carry out include:-
Not only should you check that your tyre pressures are at the correct levels but you also need to check the tread. In the midst of COVID, we have seen relatively few tyre checks by the police but this will change when we finally get back to “normal”. Even if you are involved in a road traffic accident which wasn’t your fault, if proven that your tyres weren’t roadworthy then you could find yourself in serious trouble.
Top-up oil, coolant and windscreen washer
When a vehicle has not been used for some time, this can prompt a reduction in oil, coolant and windscreen washer levels. A simple check will confirm whether additional fluid is required, which should be added before driving. These checks will literally take you a couple of minutes and could ultimately save lives.
Consider getting your car serviced
While the modern day vehicle is built to last for in excess of 100,000 miles, they still need serviced from time to time. Often seen as a saving, a lack of servicing will certainly impact the performance of your vehicle and could see dangerous repairs undiagnosed. So, if you think that your vehicle would benefit from a service this is certainly something to consider. You’ll also have the added benefit of greater efficiency!
Remain cool and comfortable in your vehicle
It may seem a little strange to focus on remaining cool and comfortable in your vehicle while driving. However, those who do drive will be well aware of the distractions which can emerge if you are too hot, too cold, or perhaps you are wearing the wrong attire. As a consequence of a hot summer day you should ensure that you:-
- Wear relatively light clothes
- Ensure you have the correct footwear
- Keep your vehicle cool at all times
- Get yourself comfortable before setting off
Looking at the above guidance, we all know this is common sense but sometimes it is useful to be reminded. Any type of distraction while driving will have an impact on your standard of driving and could be potentially dangerous for pedestrians and passengers.
Retaining your concentration
Whether undertaking a relatively short drive or perhaps a long journey, it is not always easy to retain your concentration. All motorists know that even the slightest reduction in concentration can lead to fatal situations. First and foremost, concentration on your driving should come first, before chatting to your passengers or sorting the children out when they become bored. If there are some actions you need to take mid-journey, you should consider pulling to one side into a safe area.
If you were involved in any kind of accident, a loss of concentration, for whatever reason, is not a valid excuse.
Respecting the law
Unfortunately, one of the side-effects of the COVID pandemic has been reluctance for many people to use public transport. As a consequence, it is highly likely that the police will be more vigilant, more visible and take strict action against those who break the law. As a consequence, you need to always respect:-
- Drink drive laws
- Drug drive laws
- Speed limits
Even if you were injured in a road accident caused by somebody else, if you are found to have broken any driving laws then this may have a serious impact on your case. You may see a reduction in compensation paid or the case may be thrown out.
Drive safe, and enjoy your regained freedom!