Former Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell has backed calls to make Friday 19 July ‘check your vehicle day’.
It’s part of Highways England’s ongoing safety campaign around motorway driving, and comes ahead of what the RAC is calling ‘Frantic Friday’.
Millions of extra cars are likely to hit the road this weekend as the nation’s schools break up for the summer and families head to the traditional tourist hotspots. Highways England and Nigel Mansell are urging motorists to carry out some basic checks in advance to avoid breaking down.
‘Getting to your finish line’
The 1992 F1 champion said: “The ‘check your vehicle day’ is a great initiative from Highways England. As someone who raced in Formula 1 for well over a decade, I know a thing or two about good vehicle preparation – and what this means for getting to your finish line.
“Making sure your car is fully ready for the journey ahead could not only save you and your family a lot of heartache on the way to your destination; but ensure that you, your occupants and other road users are as safe as possible.
“It should be a weekly task for the driver to make sure all lights are working on his or her car, all glass areas are clean, wipers clear the windscreen properly, tyres at least meet legal requirements and water and oil levels are topped up.
“I am delighted to give my stamp of approval to Highways England’s call to action and please pay attention to it, as it could save your life and those around you.”
Basic checks to avoid a breakdown
Highways England is expecting to respond to an extra 700 breakdowns a week over the six-week school holiday period, increasing the number of motorway breakdowns a week to almost 5,000. Many breakdowns could be avoided by carrying out some basic checks before leaving home. For example:
- Check the tyre pressures, paying close attention to specific guidelines for a vehicle loaded with passengers and luggage.
- Check the engine oil using the dipstick, and top up if required. If the vehicle is consuming too much oil, speak to a mechanic in advance of a long journey.
- Check the coolant to ensure that it sits between the ‘min’ and ‘max’ levels.
- Check that the wipers are in good condition and there’s sufficient screenwash in the reservoir.
- Check all of the lights, including headlights, brake lights, reversing lights and indicators.
- Check the fuel, refilling close to home is a good idea in case you get stuck in congestion. A distress purchase of fuel on the motorway is likely to be expensive.
Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: “Breakdowns are still too common. We’d urge motorists to check their vehicles on a regular basis and this week is really important because we know that many schools break up for summer and people are setting off on holidays and getaways.”