Drivers are being reminded to ensure their vehicles are in good condition and to take extra care with increased numbers of pedestrians and cyclists on the roads.
Over recent days there has been an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads – around 20% higher than in previous weeks.
While journeys should still only be made if they are essential a number of large employers are now reopening, with a corresponding increase in vehicles.
However, with such low usage of vehicles it is absolutely critical that drivers are checking their vehicles before heading out on to the roads and ensure they are aware of other, new road users.
Chief Inspector Jim Thompson, said: “Over the last week we have seen an increase in vehicle usage across the county.
“Many cars, vans and motorbikes will have not been used and it is essential that these are checked before being used.
“There are huge numbers of videos, from the likes of the AA and RAC, online and you should be checking, as a minimum, your tyres – both pressure and tread depth – and any essential liquids such as oil and brake fluid.
“When out on the road we have seen some large increases in the numbers of pedestrians and cyclists – with many more children out on the roads.
“It is absolutely crucial that people are aware of these vulnerable road users, ensure that they are driving to the speed limit and appropriately to the road conditions.”
While there has been a substantial decrease in the number of vehicles on the roads there has been an increase in some of the speeds.
Chief Inspector Thompson, said: “We know that speeding is one of the four most common causes of fatal and serious crashes on our roads and my officers are all too aware of the tragic consequences.
“While the number of vehicles on the road has changed the speed limit has not, stopping distances haven’t changed and reaction time hasn’t changed – so please ensure that you driving sensibly.
“We have officers from our roads policing unit and casualty reduction team out in the community each day monitoring speed, checking vehicles and removing them if they are dangerous or uninsured or taxed.
“So please, make sure your vehicle is in good working order, that you are on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists – in particular children – and that you are keeping to the speed limit.”
Simple tips to check your vehicle over before you use it:
Brakes: If your vehicle is parked up for a long time, the brakes can seize and make it hard for you to move. Before you set of on your journey, gently move it backwards and forwards a short distance to free these up and prevent them from seizing further, where it is safe to do so. Similarly where it is safe to do so when you are driving for the first time in a while, perform a brake test to make sure that it stops from travelling speeds.
Battery: A vehicle can slowly go flat if left standing, and you may have trouble starting your vehicle. If you are able to use one safely and securely where it is privately parked, a battery conditioner or trickle charger can charge your battery whilst it is standing. If you have two vehicles, think about alternating vehicles for your essential trips to charge the battery whilst you are driving - although frequent short journeys can deplete a battery further, so please do think about whether your vehicle, and your journey, is necessary following the Government’s guidance.
Tyres: If your vehicle has been left standing, the pressures on your tyres may have gone down. Firstly, check them over for cuts or wear, that the tread is at the legal limit, and inflate them at home if you’re able. If not, inflate them at a forecourt as part of your trip to the supermarket for essential supplies.
Fluids: Whilst it is standing, now is a good time to check your vehicle’s fluid levels. Check the oil level and top up accordingly, ensure your washer fluid is topped up and that your coolant levels are at the right level as well before any journey is made.
Lights: Check that all of your electrics are working correctly, and chiefly check that all of your lights and indicators are functioning and that no new bulbs are needed.