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Driving in 'The New Normal': 5 Key Things to Know

We all adjusted to the 'new normal'. After a period of turbulence around the world, many are now taking a positive step: breaking out of national locks or restrictions and returning to their usual routine.

But this 'normal' is new. Returning to our old habits and routines has changed significantly, giving rise to new situations that we should all be aware of. Below, we explore the top five things to know in the world of transportation that can impact the way you travel and drive in this new environment.

By being aware of these things, you will help ensure your transition back to a world is safe, smooth, and positive.

1. The Rules May Have Changed

The first important thing to note when returning to normal is that the rules on the road - and beyond - may have changed. But as with all areas of law, ignorance or lack of awareness is no defense!

Rules that may have changed include tolls and bridge prices, safety laws, and even national borders. This is especially true for drivers traveling or transporting goods around the European Union.

Britain's departure from the EU - Brexit - has significantly affected UK imports and exports, for example. Now there are new rules, regulations and tariffs. It's important to be aware of this so that you don't get a fine or penalty for breaking it.

There may also be new rules and laws that were enacted during the lockdown that have not become common practice, such as new rules that prohibit drivers from recording videos while driving, and not just making calls and texting.

Be sure to check in advance for any significant changes that will affect your driving or travel plans.

2. Routes May Change

It's not just the driving rules that may have changed - the routes may have changed too. During the national lockdown, many road improvements and construction projects have been undertaken that could completely change familiar routes, either with temporary diversions or something more permanent.

Be sure to expect changes and changes like this one and stay alert at all times, even on previously known routes. Also, make sure to allow extra time for your trip to avoid disappointment and to avoid getting busy. This will help ensure that you drive safely and responsibly.

Now is a good time to rely on satellite navigation and electronic maps that are regularly updated - even instantaneously, rather than a printed map that can quickly become obsolete. When in doubt, check your route in advance, or allow additional time for your trip.

3. You May Not Be Practicing

Many people have been driving less over the past year - whether due to being locked out, sick, working remotely, or for a variety of other reasons.

If you have been driving less than usual recently, be aware that you may be a little out of training. You may want to devote more time to your commuting, or take small daily car trips to build up your confidence and skills again.

Although you should start driving normally right away, try to make sure that you are extra alert and safe. When in doubt, rest, and continue on your way to farther journeys.

Recent studies have shown that many people now feel more nervous or anxious while driving after long breaks. Experts say that by starting smaller and more familiar journeys on a regular basis, your confidence will return soon.

4. Maybe It's Time to Upgrade

Returning to your car after a long break might make you realize that it no longer fits your lifestyle, or could benefit from a refresh. You can choose to sell your car - adding a few simple upgrades to increase its value - or alternatively, you can take smaller steps.

This may include ordering into a reputable garage that can update outdated parts, check for damage, or run security checks. It's very important to make sure that your car is still roadworthy, and that the brakes, tires, and other important things are functioning optimally after weeks of underuse. Many drivers find that their car battery is empty after locking up!

5. There are New Important Things to Bring

The 'new normal' can also include bringing in important new things that weren't always necessary before. Water, phone chargers, and first aid or repair kits can always help, but new additions now may include face masks, hand sanitizer, and medication.

With a relaxed preparation and approach, your transition to the 'new normal' in driving will be safe, easy and enjoyable!