What are the car rules during lockdown?

By Julia Freeman

The global Coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the way we live our lives, at least for the time being. But the effects are likely to be felt for many more months to come, or at least until a vaccine is developed. Until that time, social distancing and at least partial lockdown seem likely to continue.

Lockdown driving

Most of us understand that we must remain in our homes for the majority of the time, unless we are key workers or have no way of working from home. But there’s a great deal of confusion about the COVID-19 car rules that are currently in force, so we’ll do our best to explain them here.

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Can I drive my car during lockdown?

With reduced services on buses and trains, not to mention the risks of picking up the virus using these forms of transport, our cars are more important than ever before, and the government is perfectly happy for us to use our cars for making necessary journeys.
 
Whether you’re a key worker or not, you’re permitted to use your car to get to and from your place of work. Key workers may also drop their children off at schools, although all other schoolchildren are required to remain at home. You can also use your car to go to the shops, and to carry out helpful tasks for vulnerable people, such as collecting prescriptions and doing the shopping. If you’re divorced or separated, with children, you’re also permitted to take them to visit your former partner and to collect them afterwards.

Can I use my car for leisure purposes?

If you’re hoping to drive the length of the UK to go for a bracing walk or bike ride, then the answer is a very definite ‘no’. When the lockdown was first introduced, any exercise had to be taken on foot, or by bike, directly from the home. But over the weeks, this rule has been relaxed a little. Now you’re allowed to use your car to drive to a place of exercise, provided that the journey doesn’t take longer than the exercise. For example, if you’re planning on walking for half an hour, your total time spent driving to and from your chosen venue must not exceed that length of time.

What car journeys are forbidden?

There’s still a great deal of confusion over what constitutes an essential journey. The government has refined the rules concerning travel to make the situation much clearer. The latest Coronavirus car rules are that some journeys are strictly forbidden. So, you are not permitted to drive to visit friends or relatives for social reasons. Unless a friend or family member is in urgent need of help or support, visiting them simply isn’t allowed.
 
You may not go out for any shopping that isn’t considered essential; picking up groceries and medication is allowed, but other shopping trips are currently banned. With the majority of shops closed, this is less of an issue than it might have been. Over time, it’s expected that these rules will be gradually relaxed, as some shops will begin opening their doors to customers under certain conditions.
 
You may not travel to your caravan, boat, or second home. Everyone is expected to stay in their main place of residence unless their job requires them to do otherwise. Some key workers, for example, have chosen to live away from their homes, for the time being, to protect other family members.

What happens if I make a non-essential car journey?

Breaking the lockdown travelling rules really isn’t worth it. The police are keeping an eye out to ensure that the population conforms to the current restrictions, and they will challenge anyone out and about without a valid reason. If your journey is found to be in breach of lockdown regulations, you’ll receive a fine, and possibly a criminal record too, depending on the severity of the breach.

How long will the travel restrictions be in force?

The entire country is waiting for some sort of resolution to the current situation. But experts warn that we could be in this for the long haul, or at least until effective controls have been put in place to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
 
It’s already been made clear that there will be no easy way out of the current restrictions, so the advice is to keep to the current guidelines for the time being. Any relaxation of the rules will come into effect very slowly, so there’s unlikely to be any major changes to the current situation for some time yet.

Keeping safe when driving

Stopping the spread of Coronavirus is the most essential task facing us all at the moment. Help yourself to help others by maintaining strict social distancing and by washing your hands regularly with soap and water. It’s advisable to keep hand sanitiser in your car and using it whenever you’ve been out and about. Wipe down the steering wheel with disinfectant or alcohol wipes every time you use your car, and don’t forget about virus touch points, such as your car’s door handles too.
 
If you’re not happy about the current roadworthiness of your car, now is the time to get it checked. Many of our larger Protyre garages are still operating, and our experienced professionals will be able to help, advise and reassure you if you have any concerns.

The local garage you can trust

In these troubled times, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your vehicle is maintained in a safe and roadworthy condition. Our tyre professionals are classed as key workers, so they’re still on hand to repair and replace tyres, as well as advising you on your options. We have tyres to suit every type of vehicle, and every budget too, so whether you need new Pirelli or Bridgestone tyres, or you’re looking for budget-friendly options, we’ve got just the tyres your need.
 
Use our handy search tool to find your tyre options. You can input the details from your vehicle handbook, or from the sidewalls of your current tyres. Or simply input your car registration number and let our computerised search do the hard work for you! Thanks to our mobile tyre fitting service, we can even come to your home or to your place of work for the ultimate in convenience and safety.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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