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Warning to post-lockdown drivers about unsafe cars

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The number of unsafe vehicles on the roads may surge due to safety checks and MOTs not being carried out during lockdown.

More than a quarter (28%) of drivers have not performed any checks on their vehicles during lockdown, according to Aviva.

The insurer carried out research into motorists’ attitudes to driving post-lockdown. It found there could be an increase in the number of potentially dangerous vehicles on roads, with many motorists forgoing vehicle safety checks during the pandemic.

More than two thirds (68%) of drivers have not checked their tyre treads or engine oil levels (68%). Six out of 10 (60%) haven’t tested their tyre pressures and two thirds (67%) haven’t looked at their lights.

The number of unsafe vehicles may be exacerbated by the extension of MOT expiry dates. Drivers were given a six-month MOT exemption from 30 March, allowing people to continue essential journeys.

But this extension could be leaving many cars, vans and motorcycles unchecked, potentially allowing unroadworthy vehicles to be driven.

Despite this, many drivers plan to take long journeys as lockdown restrictions ease. One in five (20%) plan to drive to a holiday destination in another part of the UK in the next three months, while one in 10 (10%) will drive to the countryside.

Aviva’s research also found that almost two thirds (62%) of UK motorists are nervous about driving as the UK’s lockdown restrictions continue to ease.

More than a quarter (27%) of drivers are worried about increased traffic if people avoid public transport. A fifth of motorists are worried pedestrians may step out without looking after being accustomed to quieter roads (19%), while one in eight (13%) are concerned there will be more delivery vehicles out and about.

More people commuting to work

The findings also suggest Government efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus by restricting use of public transport may accelerate permanent changes to workers’ commuting habits.

One in seven (15%) say they will use their car to drive to work post-lockdown, while one in 10 (10%) plan to walk to work more often and 6% are more likely to cycle.

Sarah Applegate, head of global strategy and insight at Aviva, says: “This latest research reveals motorists’ caution about driving as lockdown conditions ease. Drivers will inevitably be using their cars more often as non-essential shops and some leisure facilities re-open, so they should prepare for this by ensuring their vehicles are roadworthy.

“To make sure our roads stay as safe as possible, drivers should carry out basic checks before they use their cars again. If people have any concerns about their vehicles, they should ask a professional mechanic to investigate, particularly if making a longer journey.”