UK roads are a dangerous place at the best of times, with figures provided by road safety charity Brake demonstrating that a death or serious injury occurs on the road every 16 minutes. Road dangers span a wide variety of forms, but one particular form could be set to attain new significance in the spring and summer – with the news that up to 400,000 cars could be unsafe by the end of March this year.
Troubling Developments in Road Safety
The 400,000-car statistic comes from a survey of 2000 drivers conducted earlier in the year. Of the respondents with a March MOT expiration date, 17% reported being unable to pay for an MOT. Further to that, nearly three-quarters of those unable to pay reported an intention to drive on UK roads despite their expired MOT status. Extrapolated across the UK’s driving population, this makes for a troubling prospect, as more cars are likely to be using roads with undiscovered issues that could pose risks to other road users.
The Inflation Crisis
The chief cause behind the statistic, according to the same study, is the cost-of-living crisis – something that has had a near-incalculable financial impact on households up and down the country. The crisis had numerous originating factors, including the economy’s slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and new trade barriers caused by both Brexit and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Altogether, these factors have kept the rate of inflation untenably high for over a year – with essential weekly costs disproportionately higher than the CPI index. These costs have made the running costs of a car less affordable for many, leading to the above statistic.
Staying Safe on the Road
While affordability is a very real problem for a large portion of the population at the present moment, safety on UK roads remains a crucially important issue, and not just for legal compliance reasons. Indeed, the longer a vehicle goes without a service, the more likely it is to need repairs – and the more costly those repairs will be.
A little money spent in advance can ensure that a vehicle doesn’t incur unnecessary additional costs, including the cost of a repeat MOT. As such, an interim car service between MOT dates can be strong preventative measure.
Driver behaviour also has a strong impact on the safety and longevity of vehicles. Driving more consistently and patiently can ensure other road users predict the car’s movements easier, while limiting the strain placed on the car in the process. Slowing into corners, and accelerating steadily out of corners and red lights, can help limit wear on everything from tyres to brakes and suspension. Ensuring the engine never revs too highly can also reduce wear on engine parts, slowing the rate of wear for pistons and belts.