Easter celebrations are approaching for many people around the world. However, with many countries still in COVID-19 lockdowns, this year’s celebrations look set to be significantly different. Traffic conditions will vary globally, but potentially many drivers who have not driven much over the last few months, could be out on the road, eager to shake off the “lockdown blues”.
If you plan to travel over the Easter holiday, here are ten tips to help keep you and your families safe while on the road:
- Adhere to lockdown regulations, the government’s recommended Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) strategy, and social distancing guidelines.
- Check your vehicle thoroughly; especially if it hasn’t been used for a while. Checks should include fluid levels, lights, tyre pressures, brakes, battery and wiper blades, as well as a quick check in the wheel wells and engine bay to make sure nothing is/has been nesting!
- Plan your journey in advance, taking hygiene and sanitation factors into account – what do you need to carry with you, e.g. hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, etc? Check the weather forecast and travel updates before you set off, and be careful not to overload your vehicle as this can affect suspension, handling and braking.
- Driving while tired affects driving ability in the same way as drinking alcohol; it reduces reaction times and affects concentration and co-ordination. Be sure to have a good night’s sleep before you set off – and take regular breaks from driving – at least 15 minutes every two hours. More information: eDriving’s Best Practice Guide, Fatigue.
- Always travel at a speed that enables you to stop safely in the distance you can see to be clear. Remember that a three-second following distance is for good conditions only. Best Practice Guide: Defensive Driving
- Take steps to avoid distractions while driving. You might have become more reliant on technology during lockdown, so the safest option is to turn your phone off or place it out of reach. Pack an assortment of quiet activities (such as books and games consoles – with headphones) to help occupy younger passengers. Best Practice Guide: Distracted Driving
- Drive defensively – some drivers may not have been behind the wheel for months, potentially leaving them with “rusty” skills. Also remember that many families have been in lockdown together for the majority of the last year, and emotions are likely to be high! This can affect driver behaviour. More information: eDriving’s Best Practice Guide: Defensive Driving.
- Watch out for people on foot and on bicycles, and be aware that they may occupy more space than usual as they adhere to social distancing guidance.
- Never drive impaired, whether it be through alcohol, drugs, fatigue or medication. Keep the “morning after effect” in mind and remember that you could still be impaired even if you feel fine.
- Obey traffic rules and remember that quieter roads do NOT make it safer or acceptable to drive at unsafe speeds!
Visit eDriving’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more safety tips and links to best practice advice.
Safe driving and happy holidays!