Check your vehicle for these five things before driving

Date published: 15 May 2020

If you are using your vehicle for the first time in several weeks, Highways England has an important message for you: check it!

You should still stay at home as much as possible. But if you are leaving home for one of the reasons the government has given, remember that any vehicle which hasn’t been on the road for some time will need a thorough check to ensure it is roadworthy and safe.

Richard Leonard, Highways England Head of Road Safety, said: “We should only be leaving home for the reasons the government has set out – and we want those journeys to be safe ones. If you haven’t driven for a few weeks you might feel a bit strange getting back behind the wheel, and your car will need a few simple checks, like your tyres, oil, water, lights and fuel.

"As our teams have been able to continue working, while following social distancing guidelines, the layout of some roads have slightly changed.

“Everything may not be the same as the last time you were on the road, so please ensure you and your vehicle are prepared.”

So far during the lockdown, Highways England has seen a drop in traffic flow of up to around 85% at weekends, showing that many people have been following government advice to stay at home. 

Here is Highways England’s advice for drivers:

  • Check tyres: prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressures are suitable for the load and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit
  • Check engine oil: use your dipstick to check oil regularly and before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual
  • Check water: to ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen
  • Check lights: if your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself and your family at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MoT
  • Check fuel: before setting out, check your fuel levels and make sure you have enough to get to your destination

More tips, including ‘how to videos’, are available online at: 

Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available via its website, local and national radio travel bulletins, electronic road signs and mobile apps.

Local Twitter services are also available at

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