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What is considered an ‘essential’ car trip?

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April 14, 2020
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The UK is currently on a nationwide lockdown and while some travel has been strongly advised against, there are some cases where using your vehicle is still permitted.

Motorists will still be able to use their vehicles for what are deemed necessary or essential journeys such as driving to work, as well as trips to the supermarket or to get medicinal supplies will be acceptable. 

But the stricter guidelines for motorists in England have been relaxed meaning they can now use their cars to drive anywhere, and for any reason, such as to exercise or for shopping or to collect medication, as long as they follow strict social distancing protocols. 

Devolved authorities in the rest of the UK have indicated there will be no relaxation in driving restrictions yet and the police will still be able to issue fines for those who transgress.

But what is classed as an essential car trip in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? And who is still allowed to drive on the road when not shopping or delivering food or medication for themselves or vulnerable people?

Here’s everything you need to know about what is and what is not considered an essential car trip:

Driving in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during lockdown

The four reasons you can now leave your home are:

-shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

-one form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

-any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

-travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

What is considered an essential car trip?

Elsewhere in the UK apart from England where rules have been relaxed, drivers can only venture out in their vehicles to carry out essential tasks, such as buying food or medication from a pharmacy, or delivering those goods to an elderly relative over the age of 70, or anyone else who is classed as vulnerable by the government or whom have been advised to stay indoors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vehicles can also be used for ‘key workers’ including emergency services staff, government officials, teachers, health and social workers, supermarket and pharmacy employees, transport employees and key public services workers such as judges, charity workers, journalists, broadcasters, religious staff and keyline service workers.

What should you do if the police stop you?

At the moment officers are reminding people of the rules and asking why they are travelling.

Some employers have provided staff with key worker letters to provide to authorities should they be stopped by the police, explaining why they are travelling to and from work.

Meanwhile employees of the NHS, police, fire brigade, MoD and Military have been told to carry their work ID with them.

What is not considered an essential car trip?

In short, any trip that is not for food or pharmaceutical supplies is considered not an ‘essential trip’, for example driving to a friends house and talking to them through the window, is not an essential trip and if caught by the police, it could result in a fine being issued to the driver.

Recently we’ve seen people being pulled over and fined for driving unnecessarily and taking non-essential trips for driving to the beach or picking up windows.

Essentially drivers could face having their insurance voided, or their vehicle impounded if they’re found taking non-essential car trips. 

For any of your insurance needs during the lockdown Adrian Flux are here to help with any queries you may have.

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