The lockdown restrictions introduced back in March 2020 to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 have now been extended until May 2020, these restrictions still include all non-essential travel.
Here are some things you might need to know about using your vehicle during the coronavirus outbreak lockdown. You can still drive, but if you’re self-isolating, always follow the official guidance at GOV.UK.
Essential travel, what is it?
For example, essential reasons are travelling for work purposes, providing care for the vulnerable, and shopping for necessities like food and pharmaceuticals.
Should you share your vehicle with other people?
Solo journeys are strongly advised for the moment, you should only share your car with other members of your household.
What if your vehicle needs attention from a motor trade expert?
Some garages are still open for business and might offer a collect and return service, other motor trade services will also come to your home if it is essential, like tyre and windscreen services for example.
If required, it’s advisable that you speak to your insurer first to see if you’re covered under your insurance policy. If buying vehicle parts online, like bulbs or wiper blades, use a reputable retailer and trusted brands.
The government has also now confirmed car dealerships can sell cars online and deliver them during the lockdown.
In an official statement issued to a motor trade magazine, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: ‘We have asked non-essential shops like car dealerships and showrooms in England to close, unless they provide urgent car repairs and other necessary services.
‘They are all able to continue to sell cars remotely and deliver cars, as long as they follow our clear guidance from Public Health England to protect both employees who cannot work from home and their customers.’
A spokesman for Lawgistics, the legal firm for the motor trade, said this clarification will come as welcome relief to business owners who felt there was a moral issue with delivering cars during the lockdown.
‘Dealers can now carry on selling cars under this exception safe in the knowledge that by doing so they will not contravene the lockdown regulations.’
My car’s MOT is due, it also needs a service and road tax!
The Government has announced that you will automatically receive a six-month extension if your MOT is due from 30 March 2020. However, it’s advised you check with your local garage if your car is due a service as you may need to re-book.
You still need to tax your vehicle, the DVLA will be allowing vehicles to be taxed even if the MOT has expired and is subject to the six-month extension.
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Do I still need an insurance policy if I’m not using my vehicle?
The answer is yes! All Cars need to be insured even if they are not being driven. Alternatively, so long as your car is off the road and you don’t plan on using it until after the lockdown, you can declare it ‘SORN‘.
Can I use my car to drive for daily exercise?
It is reasonable to drive a short distance for exercise where more time is spent exercising than driving, but it is recommended you stay close to home wherever possible.
The distance defined as ‘close to home’ has not been made explicit by the government, but a park or open space nearest to where you live is recommended.
Why is the government restricting driving during lockdown?
Less vehicles on the road reduces the risk of traffic accidents and breakdowns, which in turn increases the chance of coming into contact with other people and not social distancing.
With NHS resources currently at full stretch, if you’re unfortunate enough to be involved in an incident requiring any of the emergency services, it would put additional strain on the system at such a critical time.