THE cost-of-living crisis has been mounting for months, but fresh pressures on millions of families across the country are having more widespread impacts in other industries and walks of life. The unprecedented rise in the cost of energy, fuel, and even the average grocery shop has seen household budgets decimated.
While the impact of these rises has already been keenly felt in retail and hospitality, prospective further increases to energy bills announced by Ofgem represent an existential crisis for national infrastructure – and road safety has become something of an unlikely victim.
Rising costs in certain areas result in cutting back in other areas, and concerns have been raised about the result of reduced consumer expenditure on road and car safety. But are motorists really avoiding car maintenance to save a pound or two?
Avoidance of Maintenance
A recent study has provided tangible evidence that the shifting priorities of hard-up families are set to have a serious impact on road safety in the UK. According to the study, over a quarter of all UK drivers are neglecting to take their car in for repairs. The same study found that 16% of drivers were actively breaking the law by driving past the expiry of their MOT, in order to save money on testing and repairs.
Various MPs and public figures have recently advocated for the relative de-regulation of vehicles on UK roads, proposing a shift from annual MOTs to biennial MOTs in order to halve the costs to motorists. However, motoring bodies have criticised the idea, suggesting that the safety implications are much more severe than the relatively low cost of an annual test.
The Importance of Maintenance
Keeping a car well-maintained is nothing short of crucial, and not just for legal compliance purposes. The MOT exists to ensure that every car driving on UK roads bears minimal risk to other road users, from vehicles to pedestrians. Failure to maintain a car properly can result in catastrophic failure and injury, in the worst-case scenario.
Ensuring your car gets a full service on a semi-regular basis can also make things cheaper in the long term, as issues are discovered and fixed before they develop, or cause more damage to other parts of the car.
Key Tips for At-Home Maintenance
Of course, full car services are not the only solution to keeping a car in good condition. There are inexpensive interventions you can undertake at home and while driving, that ensure your car remains in optimal condition between check-ups – crucially, reducing the likelihood of expensive repairs being necessary.
Staying on top of your car’s oil and other fluids will ensure that your vehicle is well-lubricated and cooled, minimising wear over time. Safe, conservative driving will also ensure your engine, brakes and suspension are not overly taxed, while improving fuel economy in the process.