The rules on driving during lockdown differ depending on where you live in the UK, and are regularly updated.
During the emergency period, the government originally said that you should only leave your home, and drive if necessary, if you have a reasonable excuse. Reasonable excuses included:
The rules on leaving the house, and driving, are gradually being eased, but the precise rules depend on which country in the UK you live in.
Regardless of where you live, you must not travel in a private vehicle with someone outside of your household.
You can leave your house for exercise. Official guidance on driving for exercise depend on where in the UK you live; all the rules below are on the basis that social distancing is maintained between people from different households.
Those that live in England should not drive to Scotland or Wales for exercise or outdoor activity.
If you have an allotment, you are allowed to visit it during lockdown. While visiting your allotment, observe social distancing rules, and clean your hands regularly. If you're spending lots of time on your allotment right now, find out the and the .
If you're a divorced or separated parent of children under the age of 18, you're permitted to drive your children to and from the other parent's home.
If your child is still at school, for example if you're a keyworker, you're allowed to drive your child to school.
While driving is a safer mode of transport than public transport, as it involves less contact with other people, we recommend that you don't drive further than you need to for exercise or outdoor activity, and avoid driving to areas that are likely to be busy.
Even if you don't plan to get out of the car, there is a risk of you breaking down or having an accident.
Anyone who is self-isolating because they or a member of their household has developed symptoms that are indicative of COVID-19 must not leave their home, even for the specific reasons outlined above - including the purchase of food or other essentials. Food and essentials must be delivered instead, and friends and delivery drivers should not enter the property.
Watch our video to find out more about when you can and can't drive during the lockdown, and what to do to stay safe while driving.
Please note that this video was created before lockdown rules were relaxed, and so the information on when you can and can't drive may be out of date. However, the video also contains useful and and current advice on staying safe while driving.
Steps you should take to protect yourself and others if you drive during the COVID-19 outbreak include:
If you do have an incident, bear in mind that the usual services you rely on may be operating differently to usual, and some may be closed.
Breakdown services are still running. If you need to call one out, make sure you maintain the with the repair person. You may be asked to do things slightly differently to normal; for example, if your car needs to be towed, you are unlikely to be able to ride in the recovery vehicle.
Several breakdown providers, including the AA and the RAC, are offering free breakdown assistance to NHS workers travelling to or from work, even if they have not paid for cover.
The offer applies to anyone with an NHS ID card, covering 1.5 million NHS workers in the UK, including cleaners, nurses, porters and surgeons.
Don't drive your car if you think something's wrong with it - get it fixed first. Many garages will still be open for urgent repairs.
Any accidents on the road requiring treatment will add to the pressures on the NHS, and you would be putting yourself under greater risk of contracting the virus by needing treatment for injuries caused by an accident.
for all vehicles during the coronavirus outbreak, but vehicles must still be kept roadworthy and drivers may be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle. You can find out more about how to keep your car roadworthy in our guide on .
Lack of driving, or only doing short journeys, can be bad for your car battery. If you're not driving for several weeks or months, you could consider investing in an external battery charger that is compatible with your car.
There are several good practice rules you can follow to reduce the strain on your battery, particularly if its old:
If your battery is flat, it won't recover by simply leaving it alone. Don't keep trying if the engine fails to start - flattening the battery further could damage it.
This article was first published on 27 March, and is updated regularly to reflect changing rules in each country in the UK. Last updated on 3 June to reflect updated guidance on driving for exercise and outdoor activity.