Fermanagh and Omagh PCSP urge caution on returning to driving

7th May 2021

Fermanagh and Omagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership is encouraging motorists to follow the advice issued by PSNI for people who, due to restrictions introduced to help curb the spread of Covid-19, may not have been able to drive for some time.

Fermanagh and Omagh PCSP Chairman Councillor John Mc Claughry said;

“We are urging everyone to be careful as restrictions are lifted and we are permitted to travel again.  We would urge everyone to check their vehicle before taking it out again and above all make sure you wear your seatbelt, adhere to speed limits and do not use your mobile phone whilst driving.”

Constable Trevor Kirke, PSNI Road Safety Education Officer, said;

“As we see the early signs of Spring and hear positive news of vaccine roll-outs, it’s not unreasonable to look forward to the easing of lockdown and our release back into “normal” life – whatever that is!

One side effect of the last year has been a huge reduction in the number of miles many of us have driven, with some people having barely left the house for months. If you’re looking forward to dusting off your car and getting back on the road there are a few points to consider to help keep you and other road users safe.

We should all be checking our vehicles regularly, but this is especially important if your car has been parked up for some time. Before taking your car out have a look at the tyres for any bulges or signs of excessive wear. It’s particularly important to check your tyre pressure as this can go down significantly over time when a vehicle has been unused. Your local garage or tyre depot will be happy to check your tyres if you’re in any doubt.

Top up the screen wash and make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition.

Even at this time of the year we can often see a return to wintry conditions so it’s a good idea to carry blankets, hot drinks, a warm coat and a charged mobile phone. It’s also a good idea to carry a Hi-Viz vest in the car in case you have to leave the vehicle for any reason.

Plan your route, taking care to avoid motorways, complex or awkward junctions, and avoid driving at night if you find it stressful.

Always use dipped headlights if driving in wet or low-light conditions and drive at an appropriate speed.

Check your mirrors regularly and if you notice a build-up of traffic behind, pull in where it is safe and allow it to pass.

If you need to make a longer journey consider taking a rest break for a tea or coffee to break up the trip.

Have your eyesight checked and wear glasses if you need them. Remember you are legally obliged to report to DVA, any medical condition that may affect your ability to drive. Your Doctor can advise you about this.

Prescription drugs can affect judgement and impair driving. If you’re on medication, consult your GP before getting on the road.  Alcohol can also have a hugely negative affect on our ability to drive safely. Avoid alcohol completely when using the car, and even the day before you’re due to drive, as it can take some time to completely leave the system and may influence our driving the “morning after”!

It might be wonderful to see the family again, but remember that if you’re carrying young children in your car, you are responsible for making sure they are properly restrained. Make sure you have an appropriate child seat with you.

If you are bringing your pet with you in the car, it’s important to make sure they are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or, worse still, injure you or themselves, if you stop quickly.  A seatbelt harness, pet carrier or dog guard are good ways of restraining animals in cars.”

For further information or if you have any queries, please dial 101 to contact your local Road Policing Unit by dialling 101.