[H]ighways England is today calling on people travelling over the Easter period to make sure they have checked their vehicle before setting off.
The organisation responsible for managing and running more than 4,300 miles of motorway and major A-roads is reminding people to make sure they have adequate fuel for the journey and to carry out simple vehicle checks around tyres and engine oil.
Latest statistics from Highways England show almost half of all breakdowns are caused by basic mechanical problems which could be avoided with simple checks.
Furthermore, nearly a quarter are caused by tyre problems; with more than 7,000 cases nationwide of vehicle breakdowns on the strategic road network due to lack of fuel over the course of a year.
Highways England’s customer service director, Melanie Clarke, said: “Safety is our top priority and we know from experience that almost half of breakdowns can easily be avoided if motorists carry out simple vehicle checks before setting off over this period.
“We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this Easter and that’s why we’re keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage, free from roadworks.”
Highways England is removing 300 miles of roadworks – meaning around 99 per cent of motorways and major A roads will be roadworks-free in time for Easter.
Highways England data shows of the more than 1bn miles travelled in the week leading up to Easter last year, more than 280 million miles were on Maundy Thursday alone; that’s almost 20 million more than the preceding Thursday.
Its Traffic Officers will be working around the clock to help people who get into difficulty.
Highways England is also reminding drivers to stay safe this Easter by adhering to motorway signage, including the red X signals on smart motorways.
Highways England closes lanes for a reason and drivers ignoring red X signs put themselves and others at risk.
Those wishing to find out more about driving on smart motorways can head online to: www.gov.uk/guidance/how-to-drive-on-a-smart-motorway for further information.
Before they set off, Highways England is urging motorists to:
- Check fuel: Make sure you have enough to get to your destination.
- Check tyres: Prior to setting off on a long/significant journey, check your tyre pressure and the condition of your tyres, including the spare. Look out for cuts or wear and make sure the tyres have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, which is the legal limit.
- Check engine oil: Use your dipstick to check oil before any long journey, and top up if needed. Take your car back to the garage if you’re topping up more than usual.
- Check water: To ensure you have good visibility, always keep your screen wash topped up so you can clear debris or dirt off your windscreen.
- Check your lights: If your indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lights, reverse lights or brake lights are not functioning properly, you are putting yourself at risk. In addition, light malfunctions can be a reason for your vehicle to fail its MOT.
Highways England also has a series of specialist videos online to help people carry out basic vehicle checks before they set off on their travels. The videos can be viewed online here: http://think.direct.gov.uk/carchecks.html
Drivers planning to use the Dartford Crossing are reminded to pay Dart Charge in advance or by midnight the day after crossing.
More information can be found on our website or by calling our information line (0300 123 5000) they can keep up to date with conditions on the roads.
For more detailed information on how to carry out your vehicle checks, search Think!