You know how important it is to drive safely by following road signs and obeying traffic laws, but how responsible are you when it comes to carrying out regular safety checks on your vehicle? Data from Highways England has shown that over 40 per cent of breakdowns in the last two years have been caused by easily fixed issues such as running out of fuel, tyre maintenance, power loss and engine trouble.

Breakdowns are dangerous as well as inconvenient and no one wants to experience one if they can help it. By performing some quick and easy checks on your car, you can reduce the risk of any problems and ensure your own road safety. Carrying out these checks can also save your vehicle from damage in the future, which means potentially saving yourself a lot of time and money further down the line. Here’s a guide to the checks you should be making on a regular basis:

  • Check yourself

Before looking at your vehicle, look at yourself and ensure that you’re safe to drive. Are you tired? Have you taken prescription medication that has made you drowsy or unable to operate a vehicle? Are you over the legal alcohol limit? These may seem like obvious questions, but every day drivers ignore recommendations and road laws to drive when it is not safe for them to do so. It only takes one irresponsible driver to cause an accident, so make sure you’re safe and prepared to drive before you get in the car.


  • Tyre tread
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Check that your tyres meet the minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. This is a legal requirement; if you are stopped by police and they find that you are not meeting the minimum, you could receive three penalty points per tyre as well as a hefty £2500 fine. Driving without the required amount of tread means putting the safety of yourself and those around you at risk as your grip, braking distance and steering can be adversely affected.


  • Tyre pressure

While you’re checking on your tyres, you also need to monitor their pressure. Overinflated or underinflated tyres are dangerous on the road as they can increase your breaking distance, making a crash more likely to occur. Poor tyre pressure also has a negative impact on your steering, fuel efficiency and the lifetime of your tyres.


  • Oil level

Letting your oil level run low means you are at a higher risk of breaking down as your engine struggles to cope. Oil is necessary for the proper lubrication, cleaning, cooling and protection of your engine’s moving parts. Check your oil level once a month at the very least to stay safe.


  • Fuel level

Do you have enough fuel to see you safely through your journey? Always aim to have more fuel than you need, keeping your tank at least one quarter full to avoid running out. A breakdown resulting from a lack of fuel can be easily avoided and there is no reason to put yourself in that position.


  • Lights

Your lights are incredibly important, helping you to drive safely at night and to indicate your intentions to other drivers. Keep yourself and other road users safe by checking that they’re in full working order.

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  • Water level

Keeping your screen wash topped up is important to maintain good visibility as it allows you to clear any dirt from your windscreen.


Staying safe means not only driving responsibly but keeping your vehicle in good shape too. Poor maintenance is a significant barrier to road safety and drivers must take more care to look after their vehicles. This article was provided by the traffic safety barrier experts at

This Article Originally posted on July 17, 2018 @ 2:20 pm

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