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Five car checks to make before driving again

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If your car’s been unused during lockdown and you’re now gearing up to make a journey, here are five checks you should carry out before getting behind the wheel.

Government guidance has been updated to allow people to travel by car to parks, beaches and beauty spots further afield.

While people are reminded to still stay at home as much as possible, and observe the 2m social distancing rules, given the greater freedoms, many are likely to take advantage.

If you’re planning to make a car journey for the first time in weeks, it’s important to check the car over.

Richard Leonard, Highways England head of road safety, said: “We should only be leaving home for the reasons the government has set out – and we want those journeys to be safe ones.

“If you haven’t driven for a few weeks you might feel a bit strange getting back behind the wheel, and your car will need a few simple checks, like your tyres, oil, water, lights and fuel.”

Drivers are also warned that the layout of some roads may have changed over the course of lockdown.

It lists the following advice for drivers:

Check tyres

Prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit.

Check engine oil

Use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual.

Check water

To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.

Check lights

If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT.

Check fuel

Before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination.

Motorists can view more tips, including ‘how to videos’ online. You can also see real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads via the Traffic England website.

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