With the UK in lockdown in order to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, life has changed dramatically. The government has brought in strict rules on what people can and can’t do in a bid to contain the outbreak. But it raises many unanswered questions – especially for millions of motorists and how the rules affect them.
This guide answers some of the common questions that motorists have in the current climate.
Can you still drive your car?
The current rules do not stop you from driving your car as such. But it is important to bear in mind that you should only be making essential trips e.g. shopping for necessities or travelling to and from work if you can’t work from home.
You are also allowed to drive your car if you are going somewhere to walk as part of your daily form of exercise. But time spent driving must be much shorter than the time spent walking.
Are petrol stations still open?
If you are still making essential trips by car, petrol stations remain open for you to refuel. To maintain social distancing, it is a good idea to use self-service pumps where possible and use gloves when handling the pumps. You may also want to refuel at quieter times too.
Can you get your car serviced?
Garages are classed as essential businesses so that people who must keep driving during the lockdown still can. While a regular service history is important, a garage is unlikely to take on any non-essential work until the restrictions are lifted.
What happens if you breakdown?
You won’t be left stranded if you are unlucky enough to breakdown during the lockdown. The AA, RAC, Green Flag and other service providers are still operating and can come to your aid – unless you are self-isolating after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
How are your insurance policies affected?
In normal circumstances, you should always tell your insurer if there is a major change in how you use your car. But insurers are well aware of the current situation, so you won’t need to do this. And your policies continue to protect you against any theft or damage – as well as the inevitable depreciation that comes with age if you hold a gap insurance policy.
Should you declare your car as off the road?
If you’re not driving your car at all, you might be thinking about getting a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) from the DVLA – registering it as ‘off the road’. It means you won’t need to tax or insure your car for the duration. But this can be counter-productive.
Is your car due for its MOT soon?
Any car, motorbike or van due its MOT from 30 March 2020 onwards has been granted a six-month exemption. You just need to keep making sure your vehicle is still roadworthy.
Worried about your car finance payments?
For some people, the lockdown is causing a strain on their personal finances. This can create problems if there are car finance payments to keep up with. Get in touch with your lender as soon as possible – they may be able to help you out.
What should you do to maintain your car?
If your car isn’t moving anytime soon, it’s easy to not give it a second thought. But this could be an error. Regular maintenance is no less important now than if you were using it as normal.
Use this time to check the oil levels, tyre pressure and other basic systems. You may also wish to get a charger that keeps your battery topped up if you aren’t using your car for a long time.
For as long as the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions stay in place, there will continue to be many questions that need answering. This guide, however, has looked at the common concerns that motorists have – providing the answers needed to keep both driver and car safe alike.