Make sure you’re not caught out when the new rules kick in
New changes to UK laws are set to have a big impact on UK drivers when they come into place this month.
From learners on the motorway to stricter MOTs, there’s a lot to take in.
We’ve teamed up with the experts at Halfords to give Mirror readers the lowdown on everything you need to know.
Our team have been through the official information and below are some of the most important things to remember.
Get your car in shape before the MOT
The new rules for MOTs introduced this month mean that there are new categorisation for problems.
The new MOT system uses the following classifications:
* Dangerous : this is a fail and you are not allowed to drive the car.
* Major : this is a fail but you can drive to a garage to have the issue fixed.
* Minor : the car has passed but there are issues that need fixing. The car isn’t dangerous or polluting the environment.
* Advisory : the car has passed but the issue could become more serious in future – monitor and repair if necessary
* Meet the standard: the car meets the minimum legal standard – make sure it continues to meet the standard.
If you get ‘major’ or ‘dangerous’ then you’ll fail. Dangerous faults must be repaired before you can drive the car again. Major faults mean that you could drive the car to a garage for repairs as long as the car has time left on the existing MOT.
Advisory still exists as a category too, so you need to keep a close eye on these. You’ll still pass, but it’s likely that these will become more serious with time.
You can check your car in advance for common MOT fails before you take it to be tested. Doing this means you should be able to fix problems before your test. You can also book a Free Car Check at Halfords which includes:
- Bulb Check
- Wiper Blades Check
- Battery Check
- Engine oil level check
- Windscreen Chip Check
- Plus Free Screenwash Top Up
It can be somewhat complicated working out what oil you need to buy for your car. (The Mobil Super 3000 , for example, is best suited to engines that have been designed to use a low viscosity (HTHS) motor oil.)
The Halfords Oil Finder will tell you all you need to know – just pop in your car details and it will give you suitable oil for topping up.
Once you’re ready for your MOT, book with Halfords Autocentre for a 45 per cent discount on the DVSA maximum fee.
Common MOT failures
Because the MOT now tests for some new things you’ll want to check these before taking your car in.
You must make sure that your tyres are properly inflated. Warning lights on your dashboard that indicate a problem with your brakes are also a reason for the car to fail too, so check for these. Contaminated brake fluid will also be a fail from now on too as will any leaks that pose an environmental risk – like oil from the engine or gearbox.
If your car has headlight washers then they must work on cars registered from September 1, 2009.
Many MOT fails are quite simple problems to fix. So make sure that you have no chips or cracks in your windscreen. If you do, consider Halfords weRepair service, which will fix a chip for just £25 at a time that suits you.
It’s also common to fail for a blown car bulb, so check these before you book in a test. Halfords can supply bulbs for all makes and models of car. If you’re not sure if you can fit them yourself – and they can sometimes be very awkward – Halfords will do it for you and it only costs £8 for a headlight or £5 for other lights. The WeFit service also covers wiper blade fitting from £2 or a battery from £15.
Cars registered for the first time after 1 March 2018 will also need to have working daytime running lights. These cars won’t go through the MOT process until 2021 though, so this is something to be aware of in the future and to add to your pre-MOT checklist.
Beware using a phone for navigation
The law on using a mobile is clear: don’t do it. Fines are stiff so don’t take risks here and get a car holder for your phone. The fine on the other hand could be as much as £1,000 if you go to court, or £200 with six points if you’re given a fixed penalty notice.
Bear in mind too that you can also get three points if you have an obstructed view of the road. That means you need to take care when mounting your sat nav or mobile phone holder – check this Halfords blog post for more detail. Don’t be tempted to play with your phone when driving. Even when in a mount it’s not legal to do so.
If you want to avoid the risks of having a phone to distract you then a sat nav is an ideal way to stay focused but still get directions.
Learners on the motorway
From June 4, learner drivers will be allowed to take lessons on the motorway, as long as they are with an approved instructor and in a car with dual controls.
This may help to ensure that new drivers are confident and capable motorway drivers.
But anyone, whether a learner or an experienced driver, can be involved in a road traffic incident.
While they won’t prevent an accident, investing in a dash cam can offer some peace of mind. Having one means that if something were to happen, you’d have video evidence to back up your version of events. Because of this, they can even be used to lower your insurance premium.
It’s also worth noting that so-called ‘smart’ motorways are getting official fixed penalties if you drive in a lane marked with a cross. This was already illegal but it’s now punishable with thee points and a £100 fine.
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