Don’t try to fix safety- critical components yourself. Always use a qualified mechanic to work on your vehicle. Make sure you get your annual MOT and your vehicle is serviced in line with your vehicle handbook.
If you’re driving an employer’s vehicle, speak to them about who is maintaining it and when it was last checked. Ask your employer to ensure it is maintained in line with the vehicle handbook. Encourage them to make use of Brake’s guidance for companies on fleet safety (see www. brakepro.org).
Just because a vehicle has passed an annual test or been serviced, it doesn’t mean it will be safe until the next service. A brake pad (the material that keeps your brakes working) may be only just above legal now, and worn out and dangerous well before your next service. Talk to your garage about the level of wear on brake pads and tyres, and any other problems your vehicle might experience in the coming months, so you know if you should pay them a visit between services.
Faulty batteries are one of the biggest causes of breakdowns, so get it tested, particularly before cold weather sets in. Many garages offer free checks.
Choosing the safest vehicle
Buy the safest, most reliable vehicle you can. To find out the safest car models, visit Euro NCAP which tests and rates them. Before buying a second-hand vehicle, get it checked over by an independent, qualified and experienced mechanic. It’s better to pay for a mechanic than buy a car that isn’t safe. See our factsheet on choosing safer vehicles for more information.
[i] Reported Road Casualties Great Britain: 2013 Annual Report, Department for Transport 2014.