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Covid 19 impacting our roads

The COVID-19 pandemic has been akin to a car crash for the UK’s health and economy. But collateral damage caused by the virus has also had an impact on other areas of people’s lives. 

As many people embraced staying at home, many cars were left to languish on driveways. But since social gatherings, offices, and schools have been the given the green light to return to normal, the nation’s roads are almost as busy as they were pre-lockdown.  

A deterioration of driving skills having not driven for a long period of time has left many reluctant to get back in the driver’s seat. IAM Roadsmart recommends rebuilding confidence by undertaking short journeys on familiar roads, and then gradually increasing the distance of journeys. 

Maintenance checks are also recommended although car owners should be carrying them out weekly. But during the last 18 months of irregular usage, many vehicles have not received the attention they need. For example, tyres may not have done as many miles of the last year and a half but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to be maintained. Tyres will deflate and deteriorate over time, even when a vehicle is just sat in a garage or driveway.  

Delivery drivers, taxi drivers, the gig-economy and even company car drivers face constant pressure to keep up with demand throughout the pandemic and this, along with resultant fatigue, has a negative impact on their mental and physical health. They are urged to split up long stretches of driving with breaks to avoid drowsiness. 

It is good to note that a caffeine drink may be a quick fix, but it is not a long-term solution and certainly no substitute for a good night’s sleep and it is recommended you avoid energy drinks at all costs as this makes the situation much worse.  

Motorists faced bumper-to-bumper queues as holidaymakers took to destinations across the UK for domestic holidays, otherwise known as staycations.  

And with the popularity of staycations expected to continue post pandemic, we urge drivers to stay calm! Our stress related investigation, discovered that more than four-in-ten motorists (42%) are anxious about returning to sitting in long tail backs. 

During the pandemic, emergency service workers had the job of keeping the country safe, even in challenging conditions.  

No doubt, this has resulted in an increase in mental health related issues, such as stress and anxiety. The pandemic has also led to increased pressure on Accident and Emergency Departments. 

IAM RoadSmart reminds drivers that it is crucial that we all maintain good driving and riding standards as a way to show support and enable NHS frontline staff to continue to focus their time and efforts on tackling COVID-19. 

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