RAC warning: Breakdown experts urge drivers to check cars as road traffic set to soar

RAC warning: Breakdown experts urge drivers to check cars as road traffic set to soar

07/01/2020

One third of drivers are set to head for an overnight stay across the UK as dozens more dash to pubs and restaurants which reopen on Saturday. The RAC has revealed it could be the busiest weekend of the year so far on the roads as Britons look to make the most of a summer spent in lockdown. 

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One fifth of road users have planned a drive to stay overnight with family and friends as a further six percent are set to visit camping sites. 

Two percent of road users, a total of 690,000 drivers, are planning on taking their caravan for a short break while three percent will opt to stay in hotels. 

Due to the sudden surge in trips expected from Saturday, RAC experts have issued safety warnings to motorists to ensure their cars are thoroughly checked before setting off. 

There are fears that weeks in lockdown could have left some damage to vehicles which may lead to issues while embarking on many people’s first long journey of the year. 

The RAC has urged motorists to check common features such as tyre conditions and oil and coolant levels. 

They have also urged all drivers carrying caravans or trailers to “triple-check” they are fastened. 

RAC Breakdown spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “Tyre condition and pressure – of cars, as well as trailers and caravans – should be top of the list of things to check before any trip, followed by oil and coolant level. 

“As this is probably the first time people have travelled this year with their cars fully loaded up we’re supporting Highways England’s call for all drivers carrying loads – be that a roof box, bikes or a trailer – to triple-check they are securely fastened. 

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“No driver wants to be the one responsible for putting the safety of other people at risk just because they didn’t spend a few extra minutes before getting on the road.”

The firm’s calls have come alongside Highways England who revealed 46,000 unsecured items were found on England’s motorways and major A roads over 10 months. 

Highways England have said officers have had to deal with everything from a washing machine, sofa and king size mattress which have all fallen from cars. 

Officers explained how one family’s top box was spread all over three lanes of a road as they made their way on holiday. 

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Alongside the risk to yourself and other road users, failing to keep a car in a road legal condition is a serious motoring offence and could see drivers fined. 

Driving a car in a dangerous condition can see motorists hit with a £2,500 fine and up to six penalty points on their driving licence. 

In some severe cases, road users may also be issued a £5,000 fine for dangerous driving and even issued a temporary driving ban. 

Rod Dennis has urged motorists whose car needs “essential work” to get it “booked in” before making a trip over the weekend. 

He said: “For any driver whose car needs essential work – be it an MOT, service or other work – this could be a good week to get that work booked in before the weekend.”

He added: “The likely increase in journeys being taken by car next weekend follows a clear increase in traffic on the roads in recent weeks.

“With our own analysis showing that the number of motorists breaking down is now near enough back to what we would expect for late June.”

Motorhome owners or those towing caravans have also been urged to check their breakdown policy covers them in the event of an emergency. 

Drivers are warned many agreements may have restrictions on the length and height of vehicles or the number of people who can be covered by the policy. 

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