With the government publishing its roadmap out of lockdown, many people are looking forward to UK family holidays and trips to see loved ones.

With many road users driving less frequently after a year of working from home, a Somerset car retailer is offering some top tips for local residents to ensure they’re safe and confident when embarking on a long car journey again.

Paul Harding, from Taunton Motor Company on Priory Way, said: “Although most people have limited their driving recently or haven’t been driving at all, there’s no reason to be nervous when preparing for a long journey.

“There are a number of things you can do to prepare your car so you’re ready to hit the road as soon as restrictions end.

1. Back to basics

“There are a few simple checks you may need to get back into the habit of doing regularly – and while they may sound obvious, they might be overlooked if you’re leaving in a hurry," Harding said.

"It’s important that your car has plenty of fuel, its oil and coolant are topped up, its tyres are correctly inflated and that the electrics are all working properly.

"If your car is a plug-in hybrid or full electric, make sure it’s sufficiently charged for your journey."

2. MoT and service

“Unlike in the first lockdown, the government has not granted an extension for MoT tests, and car owners could risk a £1,000 fine if they don’t get theirs updated before it expires - but it’s important to note that this does not apply to people who are shielding.

"Many garages, including Taunton Motor Company, are still open for MoT tests and servicing, since they are considered an essential service, so make sure you book in now and avoid the post-lockdown rush!"

3. Tax and insurance

“As with a car’s MoT test, its insurance and tax also have to be renewed, and it’s a criminal offence to drive without these being completed.

"Remember to shop around for insurance because many companies have offers on at the moment, with lower prices than usual and useful extras that may make for a better deal."

4. Squeaky clean

“After months of minimal use, who knows what’s accumulated in your car’s boot, glovebox and back seat.

"These last few weeks of lockdown are a great opportunity to clean and declutter your car inside and out, creating space for luggage and getting it ready to take passengers again."

5. Take a test drive

“If you feel like you’re a bit out of practice, take a short test drive a few weeks before a long drive.

"It’ll help reassure you, and give you a chance to check that the car is running smoothly, while you still have enough time to book it in for a check-up if all doesn’t seem right.”

For more information about Taunton Motor Company, you can call 01823 239896 or email salesmanager@tauntonmotorcompany.co.uk.