MOT Yourself

It is easy to forget that it is not just the car that needs a regular 'MOT', but also the person driving it. A large number of road accidents are caused by misjudgements and lack of attention, so it's crucial that you're fully prepared for today's demanding driving conditions.
To be safe on the road it is vital to keep your car and yourself in tip top condition. Both need to be fit and legal to cope with the demands that modern motoring requires.
We believe that a few simple and regular checks that we can make on ourselves as drivers will make a significant difference to road safety.
My Top Five tips to MOT yourself

  • Headlights & Mirrors = your eyesight. It is essential for safe driving that drivers have their eyesight checked regularly by a professional. In addition it is a legal requirement that glasses or contact lenses are always used if they have been prescribed for use when driving.
  • Oil & Water = your blood pressure. Of course, it is important to watch your oil and water levels and temperature because if they run out or overheat, you'll have a car breakdown on your hands. If you allow your blood pressure to rise when you're driving you'll find that stressful situations will seem even worse. The Courtesy on the Road campaign aims to help combat road rage and encourages drivers to be more polite. In a stressful situation, take a deep breath, remain calm, be patient and think before you act. Your time behind the wheel will be much more enjoyable if you do.
  • Battery = energy. Try not to drive when you feel lacking in energy. Take time to recharge your batteries. Pay attention to any warnings on prescription or over-the-counter medicines. Many can cause drowsiness, so if in doubt, check with a pharmacist, and don't drive if you suspect you may be affected.
  • Fuel = nutrition. It's very important that you eat and drink the right foods in the right quantities before setting out - especially if it's on a long journey. Eating a heavy meal or the wrong foods just before a long drive can cause drowsiness - and eating or drinking lots of sugary food and drink can also lead to fatigue. Drivers' response times are rapidly increased when tiredness sets in. That's why it's important to stop and make sure you feel refreshed before you continue with the journey. The Highway Code's recommendation is that drivers should take a break of 15 minutes every two hours, no matter how fresh or fatigued they feel.
  • Tyre Pressure = lungs. People can often feel sluggish, especially in the winter. It is important to get some air in your lungs and do regular exercise to ensure alertness. It's surprising how effective a brisk walk can be to keep you feeling perky.
  • Start thinking about your own personal MOT now, and you will have a much safer and more pleasurable time on the road.

    David Williams MBE is the Chief Executive of GEM Motoring Assist, a leading road safety organisation in the UK. GEM Motoring Assist is a multi award-winning provider of car breakdown cover and has policies which also cover motorcycles, caravans and motorhomes.

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