Safety Checklist for Borrowing Someone Else’s Car

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Borrowing a car from a friend or family member is a convenient option if you’re without your own and don’t want to pay for a hire vehicle. But it’s up to you to return it safe and sound, as well as any passengers you’re driving around. To ensure a smooth borrowing experience, here’s a checklist to follow before you hit the road.

Legal checks and documentation

Before you take the car for a spin, confirm that the vehicle has a valid MOT certificate. This ensures that the car meets the required safety and environmental standards. It’s also worth checking that the car’s road tax is up to date (if required at all). Being stopped in a car without either of these could result in you and the owner receiving fines and potentially facing other penalties.

Next, verify the car insurance in place. Most policies don’t automatically cover other drivers unless specified. If this is the case, you’ll need to arrange your own temporary cover. Taking out car insurance for one day or longer helps to keep your costs low and means less hassle for the car owner.

Inspect the vehicle

Before driving off in a borrowed car, perform a thorough inspection. Check the tyres for adequate tread depth and proper inflation. Examine the lights, including indicators, brake lights, and headlights, to ensure they are functioning correctly. Look for any existing damage to the bodywork and make sure the windscreen wipers are in working order.

Head inside the car to check you can see all mirrors and adjust them if not. Try the seatbelts and ensure the horn is operational. It’s also wise to test the brakes in a safe area before setting off on your first journey. Testing all the essential elements keeps you and your passengers safe, as well as other road users.

Familiarise yourself with the vehicle

Every car handles differently and each has an array of unique controls and features. Take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the vehicle from behind the wheel so you’re not uncertain out on the road. Adjust your driving position until you’re comfortable. Locate the indicators, lights, windscreen wipers and any other essential controls. Make sure to check the car’s fuel type and how to open the fuel cap if you’ll need to fill up.

Ask the owner about any special features or quirks, such as parking brakes, navigation systems and air conditioning. Understanding the car you’re driving should limit distractions and keep you safe on the roads.

It’s better to be safe than sorry when borrowing someone else’s car. Do all the necessary checks and ensure all legal and insurance considerations are in order before hitting the road.

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