Andrew Stephenson, the Business Minister responsible for Britain’s automotive sector and MP for Pendle, has put his weight behind Highway England’s ‘Check your Vehicle Day’.
Alongside other motoring organisations, Highways England are encouraging people heading off on summer getaways to prepare by checking their vehicles in advance to avoid breaking down.
The government agency have designated Friday 19 July as ‘Check your Vehicle Day’ as part their ongoing safety campaign about motorway driving. The campaign is advising motorists what to do if they break down, reminding them to follow speed limits, to keep left except when overtaking and not to ignore red X signals above closed lanes.
‘Check your Vehicle Day’ is being supported by 1992 Formula 1 World Champion Nigel Mansell CBE, in his role as IAM RoadSmart president, the RAC, Michelin UK, Green Flag and Halfords Autocentres and now has support from the Minister responsible for Britain’s carmakers.
Mr Stephenson said, “We make some of the safest cars in the world and have some of the safest roads too. However, there’s a risk of failing to keep up maintenance on our cars including taking basic precautions.
“No-one wants to be caught out whilst on the road, especially when getting away for the holidays. By following Highways England’s simple advice, motorists can save themselves a lot of headaches this summer.”
Highways England says simple checks are a way to make sure the vehicle is roadworthy. Things to consider are:
- 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
Highways England has also issued five basic safety tips to follow if your car does break down on a motorway:
- get away from the traffic. Exit the motorway or get to an emergency area or hard shoulder and use the free phone provided
- if that’s not possible, move left onto the verge
- get out of the left side of your car and behind the barrier if you can and it is safe to do so
- get help – contact your breakdown provider or Highways England on 0300 123 5000
- if you break down in moving traffic and cannot leave your car, keep your seatbelt and hazard lights on and call 999
More information is available on the Highways England website, https://highwaysengland.co.uk/motorways