As rules on lockdown loosen with non-essential shops opening up, new data commissioned by automotive industry professional body the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) suggests thousands of road users could be at risk.
With many vehicles ‘locked down’ for much of the past 12 weeks, the IMI is urging motorists to do some basic checks before they set off.
Only 26 per cent of motorists surveyed admitted to checking their tyre depth during lockdown and just a third have tested their brakes.
Just under a third have checked water (32 per cent) and oil (31 per cent) levels.
Yet more than one in four (28 per cent) plan to use their car instead of the public transport they would have used before Covid-19 as they return to workplaces.
And the risk is heightened as a result of the extension on MOTs, as Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI explained: “Consumers are being encouraged to get back out into the shops and workers urged to get back to work; but at the same time asked to avoid public transport.
“However, the MOT on millions of vehicles has already expired, which means even the most basic checks haven’t been done.
“Indeed there are claims that more than a million vehicles due for their MOT since lockdown are likely to have failed.
“Combined with the fact that more than a third of the motorists don’t feel confident to do longer journeys, we are very concerned that drivers are running the risk of getting behind the wheel of unroadworthy cars, putting themselves and other road users at risk.”
The IMI is urging motorists to do some basic checks – as a minimum – and if at all possible, to get their vehicle checked over by a professional before they embark on longer journeys.
According to the IMI research, more than one in 10 motorists are concerned their vehicle is not roadworthy and over a quarter (26 per cent) are worried their car might break down as a result of it not being used for the past three months.
Plus, one in 10 motorists are unaware or unsure if they risk being fined if their car is in an unroadworthy condition.
The IMI also has concerns over the confidence of drivers heading back onto the road. Its research shows a third of drivers admitted they are nervous about driving long distances post-lockdown; 38 per cent admitted they have lost confidence in their driving ability.
Interestingly the nervousness of driving generally decreases as age increases. Seventy-two per cent of those in the 25-34 age bracket said they were nervous; 47 per cent of 35-44 year olds said the same.
However, this concern decreases to just one in five for those aged 55 and over.