It is beginning to feel a lot like life is heading towards a slow return to normality – a new normal for sure and with many things changed, in some cases forever.
We know that simply jumping in the car for a drive is something that many of you will have missed – we're no different and the amazing weather the UK has experienced whilst under lockdown really hasn't helped at all.
So, before we all jump into our cars and onto our motorcycles again to head out to our favourite roads and simply enjoy motoring, we've put together a few helpful hints and tips to help you make sure that your return to the freedom of the open road is a safe one.
We know that many cars have been left standing for many weeks with minimal, if any, use. One of our associates provided an excellent article on safely storing your vehicle and you now need to think about making sure that your vehicle is safe to use, as the penalty for using an unsafe vehicle can be a fine of up to £2,500 and possible disqualification – both of which could impact future insurance premiums.
Highways England have produced this guide to help you check that your vehicle is safe to use here and we recommend that you carry out these checks before setting off.
If you aren't sure what to check then you should seek professional advice from a garage, many of whom are now open again and able to provide assistance with service and maintenance.
Check that your tax and insurance have remained in force as once again there are substantial penalties if either have lapsed and you are caught using a vehicle without valid tax and insurance.
They haven't changed or gone anywhere!
It's worth remembering that popular driving routes are likely to get very busy, very quickly as everyone stretches the legs of their vehicles.
We need to all remain respectful of the rules of the road, other road users and the general public as many great driving roads are in areas popular with hikers, bikers, cyclists and families enjoying the fresh air and, we hope, continued fantastic weather.
Whilst lockdown has provided many of us with some relief from the maelstrom of daily life, it's fair to say that we may have become slightly rusty behind the wheel – over 2 months is a long time away from driving so it's a good idea to find a quiet stretch of road and spend a few minutes reacquainting yourself with your car and its controls – might sound a bit silly, but we think it's a very sensible precaution.
Plan any journey to factor in stops for convenience or food which may take longer due to social distancing measures.
Remember that many others are in exactly the same position as you – we don't for a moment envisage thousands of motorists bumbling around and colliding with one another on every corner but a little bit of empathy is probably the best thing to use if another driver appears hesitant.
We know that criticizing an enthusiast's driving skill is akin to insulting their partner or children but being a bit more patient than we used to be isn't a bad approach!
Millions have taken up cycling – indeed, being able to simply buy a bike is harder now than we can ever remember with many stockists selling out rapidly.
Bear in mind that many are either rediscovering riding a bike or are completely new to the activity so allow plenty of space and expect the unexpected.
We're all going to have to accept social distancing measures for the foreseeable future so once again expect pedestrians to occasionally move into the road to avoid other people walking.
Without wishing to plagiarize a slogan, we'd suggest “stay alert, be vigilant, expect the unexpected and share the roads safely”.
Above all, enjoy your return to motoring – it's been a while and the best stretches of tarmac are there waiting for us all.