Photo by Mark Dymchenko from iStock
Here we are, at the beginning of June 2020, and the UK Government has eased parts of the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. This means that many of us can, at last, begin to pick up the threads of our normal lives – and for a lot of us, this will involve using our cars again.
As more and more people go back to their place of work, they will be contemplating how to get there. The Government has encouraged cycling and walking, but for many, this isn’t an option. Public transport, once extolled by the Government as the way to travel, is currently out of favour due to the pandemic, and the risks involved travelling in close proximity to others. (Don’t forget that from 15 June, wearing a face covering when travelling by public transport will be mandatory.)
So that leaves the car. Some of us have already ventured out on four wheels, as from 1 June the lockdown was eased, so that you could travel further and for unlimited outdoor exercise – please remember that the rules in Scotland and Wales are slightly different.
So, does the thought of using your car again after such a long spell of it being dormant, fill you with excitement, or apprehension and dread? If it’s the latter, then there are a few things to consider which may help.
First, do give your vehicle a thorough check and make sure the tyre pressures, oil, water and windscreen fluid levels are all at the right levels. Check to see if it starts okay, as the battery may have gone flat and it will then require charging. For more helpful tips, visit the RAC website.
If you do drive and need breakdown services, the AA, RAC and Green Flag are all running as usual and their services are free to all NHS and other key workers.
Secondly, you will feel more confident if you know you are doing everything you can to protect yourself and others when using your car. Before you drive, wipe down door handles, the steering wheel and controls with warm water and detergent, wash your hands with warm soap and water before driving, and use hand sanitiser to clean your hands when you arrive at your destination. Wear disposable gloves when you stop to refuel and also pay with a card (contactless if possible) rather than cash. Sanitise your hands again after refuelling.
For added comfort while you are sitting in the car, the Harley Car Support, which fits at the base of the seat and supports the lower back, is worth considering. And the velvety Memory Foam Neck Cushion gives essential support to a painful or stiff neck and is completely washable.
Many people struggle with getting in and out of the car, particularly as they get older. There are several useful mobility aids which can help with this, including swivel seats (which allow you to sit down first and then turn in the car seat to place your legs inside), transfer bars (which aids in the standing up process, providing your hands with a sturdy pivot point) and seat belt reachers which allow you to reach for the seat belt more easily without straining your back by twisting round.
If you can manage to get out of the car unassisted or with a little help, then the Car Assist Pack which contains everything you need like a car slide, leg lifters and door straps to hold on to, plus an instructional DVD would be a great help.
So, as you venture out slowly, but surely, either to go to work, to visit the doctor, or to shop for food essentials, you can feel confident that you have done as much as you can to protect yourself and others and that your car is well equipped, making your journey comfortable and easy.