The lockdown has left millions of cars sitting idle on driveways or in garages for much of the past few months. But now the Government has eased its restrictions on driving, traffic is starting to pick up again. The temptation after weeks at home may be to jump in the car and hit the open road. However, there are a few things you should do first.
To begin with, it’s important to familiarise yourself with the new lockdown rules on driving so that you are following the appropriate advice and don't put yourself or others at risk. You can visit the government website to keep up to date with the latest news.
Before the 11 May, you could only use your car to shop for essentials, visit the doctor, pick up medicines, to help an elderly person or to get to work, if you couldn’t work from home that is.
These rules still apply but in England you are now allowed to drive for any distance as long as you return home at night and you respect social distancing measures at all times.
But before you do, there are some things you should probably consider.
While garages remain open, the government has extended all MOTs that have expired since 30 March by six months. For example, that means if your MOT was due to expire on 3 May, it will automatically be extended to 3 November, which is when you will need to get it renewed as usual.
However, while your MOT should be extended automatically, you need to check with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) that it has before you can drive your car. You can check this online, using the government website.
If for some reason it has not been extended, the DVSA recommends you email email@example.com with the date your MOT expired along with your licence plate. The DVSA will then email you once the MOT has been extended.
Once it has, then you can go about renewing your tax and insurance in the usual way.
However, it’s worth noting that while you might have a six-month extension on your MOT, you still need to make sure your car is safe to drive.
Cars are meant to be driven and, when they are not, sometimes they need a bit of love and care to get them back into a road-worthy condition. That’s why it’s a good idea to carry out some routine maintenance checks on your vehicle before you hop in it for a spin.
But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a mechanic to ensure your car is in good working order; you just need to know what to look out for.