We’ve all been restricted to essential journeys only over the last several weeks, which means it’s probably been a while since many of us have been behind a wheel. Returning to driving after time away can always be a bit tricky, so we’ve put together some post-lockdown tips for both you and your car.
1. Take it slow
You don’t have to jump straight into driving on dual carriageways or the motorway – in fact, it’s probably better not to. Take it slowly at first and stick to routes that you’re familiar with. That’ll give your brain and muscle memory a chance to remember how everything works and what rules you need to follow. Then you’ll be ready to tackle faster and larger roads in no time.
2. Avoid distractions
Listening to the radio or your favourite album can be a great way to pass the time on a journey, but it can also be a distraction when you’re easing back into things. The same is true of chatting with your passengers, so maybe keep this to a minimum until you’ve built your confidence back up.
3. Put in some practice time
The more you practice, the more confident you’ll feel. Even if it’s just in an empty carpark or circling your local housing estate, practice gives you a chance to get familiar with your local roads again and try out common manoeuvres. It’ll also give you the chance to get used to sharing the road with other drivers who may be in a similar situation to you.
4. Brush up on the basics
For many of us, our theory test was a long time ago and some rules and regulations may have changed in the intervening years. While you’re easing back into driving, why not take the opportunity to brush up on your theoretical knowledge too? The Highway Code is available online and has all the information you should need to keep you safe and knowledgeable on the roads.
5. Do a refresher course
If it’s been a really long time since you’ve driven, or you need a bit of extra support, then it might be a good idea to take a refresher course of some kind. This could involve booking a few sessions with a driving instructor once the lockdown has fully lifted or simply reviewing some online materials. Whatever you choose, it’s all about building up your confidence and making sure you feel safe and secure on the roads again.
For your car
6. Check your battery
It takes at least 30 minutes of driving to charge your car’s battery and it’s unlikely you’ll have had the chance to do that lately. Which means you could very well be facing a flat battery when you start to ease back into regular driving.
If your car refuses to start, then you’ve got a couple of options including using a charger, jump starting or seeking Halfords support. Check out our guide to preparing your car for life after lockdown to find out more.
7. Check your tyres
When a car’s been stationary for a while, the rubber on your tyres can start to break down and your tyres may develop flat spots. Add in the fact that the weight of your car can also weaken the structure of your tyres and it’s worth checking them over for both pressure and condition.
Again, our guide on preparing your car for life after lockdown has some great advice about how you can look after your tyres and make sure they’re ready when it’s time to return to driving.
8. Check your brakes
Lack of use can also affect your brakes, with corrosion building up between your brake pads and disc when your car has spent a long time on your drive. This can lead to the pads and discs getting stuck together, which can quickly develop into a safety hazard.
If you suspect that your brakes might not be working properly, then book a free brake check with us and we’ll give you a non-obligation quote for any repairs that you might need.
9. Clean your car
Show your car some love by giving it a good clean, both inside and out. While cleaning’s probably not high on your list of fun jobs, it’s an essential part of good car maintenance.
A thorough outside clean will remove any dirt or grease that may have been lingering during your car’s downtime, while an interior clean will give you a fresh car to enjoy when you go for that first drive. It will also give you the opportunity to check that everything is working as it should, such as seatbelts or any child seats. Check out our car cleaning tips blog for some help and advice on how to make your car shine.
10. Get a professional check
One way to ensure that your car’s working as well as it should be is to take advantage of our free Road Ready Car Check. This check, which is available at any Halfords store or autocentre, takes approximately 30 minutes and looks at the condition of your headlights, brakes, battery, tyres and more.
Or for full peace of mind, upgrade to our 30-point car inspection service for only £29.99. The inspection, which is available from any Halfords autocentre, has been designed to check key components to ensure that your car’s safe and roadworthy. These include brakes, suspension, tyres, wheel bearings and much more. Perfect for when it’s time to return to driving.
If you need any support with your car checks, then our colleagues at our stores and autocentres will be happy to help, and we’ve implemented new safety procedures to ensure that everyone remains safe throughout the process.
Alternatively, our contactless mobile garage service brings our technicians straight to your door. These technicians can carry out battery replacements, tyre changes, oil changes and more, making them a great option if you’re unable to make it to a store or autocentre. To find out more, check out our article on how mobile technicians are bringing safe services to you.