Driving in England during lockdown: What the latest restrictions mean for motorists

The rules around what we can and cannot do are about to change again as England prepares to enter a second nationwide lockdown.

The restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson are due to come into force on Thursday November 5 and, although they are not quite as strict as those implemented in March they do have an impact on where, when and why you should use your car.

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Can I still drive during the second lockdown?

Similarly to the first UK-wide lockdown in March, the instruction for all people in England is that you must stay at home except for specific purposes.

You can still, however, drive if you need to travel for any of the following reasons:

Getting to work where this cannot be done from homegetting to education and for caring responsibilitiesAttending medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your healthvisiting venues that are open, including essential retailexercise

Therefore, you should only drive if you are:

Going to a shop or pharmacy for groceries or medicine. You should do this as infrequently as possible and only if you cannot receive home deliveries

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Travelling to work where your work cannot be done from home.

Travelling for medical reasons, either for yourself or to care for a vulnerable person where there is no alternative help.

Taking your child to school or travelling to college or university.

You can still drive for work or education in all tiers (Photo: Shutterstock)

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The Government has emphasised that essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays.

Driving when you don’t need to puts yourself at risk of being stranded should your car break down, or forcing a recovery service to come out to deal with you, so it’s better not to drive unless you have no other option.

Can I drive to exercise during lockdown?

The Government’s list also allows people to travel from their home for the purpose of exercise or to visit public outdoor spaces if they do not have a suitable location nearby.

There are no specific limits on how far you can drive to reach somewhere to exercise but the government guidelines emphasise you should travel as short a distance as possible to reach a suitable location.

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Among locations identified as suitable by the guidelines are parks, beaches, countryside, public gardens, allotments and playgrounds.

Are the roads and motorways closed?

No, all roads and motorways remain open but you should only be driving if it is absolutely necessary.

Are garages and petrol stations still open?

Yes. Garages are classified as an essential business and are allowed to remain open.

They will continue to offer services as required, with many developing social distancing or zero-contact methods of vehicle handover to protect staff and customers.

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Petrol stations are also listed as essential business and remain open but many are encouraging customers to maintain social distancing by using pay-at-pump facilities wherever possible.

How long will the restrictions last?

The restrictions are in place for four week, until Wednesday December 2. The Prime Minister said they would be reviewed at that point with a view to returning to the previous regional approach, but ministers have warned that they could remain in place for longer it there isn’t significant progress in containing the virus.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister site The Yorkshire Post