The official rules around driving during the coronavirus lockdown are shifting slightly in England. What are your motoring concerns and experiences so far?
If cars could speak, I suspect mine would tell me it’s enjoying lockdown even less than I am. Bar the odd, high octane excitement of a two-mile round trip to the supermarket, it’s been sitting idly on the driveway, gathering pollen, for weeks now.
Even putting aside concerns about the potential risk to battery and brakes – if you share these worries, take a look at our advice on maintaining your car during lockdown – cars are just meant to be driven, aren’t they?
My attempts to explain to my car that the rules mean we can’t just go for a drive have fallen on deaf wing mirrors, even when I’ve pointed out that breaking down or, worse, an accident, carries more risk during the coronavirus outbreak.
A relaxation of the rules?
So my car, at least, is probably feeling hopeful now that the rules on driving for exercise or to spend time outdoors in England are being relaxed a little.
But you do still need a reasonable excuse to leave the house, including to drive.
But while official police guidance previously only permitted driving for exercise if the drive took less time than the exercise itself, as of yesterday those who live in England can travel as far as they like for exercise or outdoor activity.
Cars that live in Scotland and Wales will have to wait longer for relaxation of the rules – here the rules remain that exercise should take place close to home.
Anyone in England tempted to visit outdoor places across the borders may find short shrift from Scottish and Welsh police.
Are the rules being enforced?
I’ve warned my overexcited car that even though the rules have been relaxed, a common sense approach is probably the way forward.
I’ll still be looking after it from a maintenance point of view, and I admit it would be nice to stretch my legs somewhere beyond a 5km radius of my house, but I won’t be taking loads of long drives just for the sake of it.
Meanwhile the different rules in different countries have potential to lead to confusion over what is and isn’t allowed. Some Which? members have told us that some regional police forces have been taking a stricter approach on driving for exercise than is required by the official rules where they live.
Are you as clear as crystal, or as clear as mud, on what the rules mean for you? What has been your experience of how police are interpreting the rules where you live?
Let us know your thoughts.