Motor Codes, the government-approved consumer watchdog for the automotive industry, is advising motorists to ensure their vehicles are legal and roadworthy ahead of the big Easter getaway this coming weekend. According to RAC Traffic Watch, nearly 17 million journeys will be made over the holiday, with around five million drivers set to hit the road this Friday alone.
With a changeable weather forecast bringing potentially challenging driving conditions across the country, Motor Codes has issued the following top tips for vehicle owners to stay safe when travelling during the four-day break.
Tread carefully with tyres
Only a small contact patch separates a car from the road, so good tyre maintenance is critical. The legal minimum tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tread, and around the complete circumference of the tyre. Furthermore all rubber, including the spare, should be inflated to the pressures as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Under-inflation can affect wear, handling and grip, especially throughout unsettled periods.
Keep it fluid
Cars rely on fluids and lubricants to operate efficiently, and all should be topped up to the advised levels. These include fuel, oil and windscreen washer. Wipers should equally be streak-free, so front and rear screens offer the best possible clarity when driving.
Stay on top of paperwork
It is not only the physical condition of the car which is important; supporting documentation for the vehicle should also be in good order. A valid MOT certificate, insurance policy, car taxation (if applicable) and servicing schedule are all required to comply with existing motoring laws.
Lighter the better
Although the UK switches to British Summer Time this coming Sunday, resulting in a greater number of daylight hours, bulbs in all front headlights, fog lights and rear lamps should be operating at their full potential and cleaned at least once a week.
Stop to look at the brakes
Brakes are some of the most vital pieces of technology, and play an even greater role during spells of inclement weather. To help drivers know when parts need changing, the degree of wear of pads and discs is often assessed during routine servicing and maintenance. However, sensors on some cars will also indicate when these components are in need of replacement.
Take charge of the battery
Today’s vehicles have more electronic systems on board than ever, all of which depend on the battery. A flat battery is one of the main causes of breakdowns. If the car is difficult to start, and the battery is more than five years old, motorists should look at getting it replaced. This will help to avoid any unnecessary interruptions to journeys during the holiday period.
Be prepared for the unknown
Keep an emergency kit and supplies in the car in the event of a major fault or breakdown. This is particularly pertinent if travelling abroad, as laws vary by country for what needs to be carried. It is recommended that drivers pack items such as a first aid kit, a torch and batteries, fluorescent jacket, jump leads and a warm blanket.
Bill Fennell, Managing Director of Motor Codes, explains: “Spring has officially begun and the Easter break is nearly upon us. However, the excitement about heading off on holiday means that checking the condition of the car can often be overlooked. Many will be carrying valuable cargo in the form of family members so it is essential for drivers to take the time to inspect their vehicle before setting off and correct defects, no matter how small.”