With summer fast approaching, many of us will want to make the most of the warm weather and get out onto the road. But driving in hot conditions can pose significant challenges and risks, even to the safest of drivers. From the glare of direct sunlight to increased traffic and potential heat exhaustion, there are a number of hazards to consider when setting off in the summer.
Here’s our top tips to help you keep your cool behind the wheel, even when it’s hot.
Basic vehicle checks before you set out can make all the difference. At a minimum, check the engine oil, screenwash and coolant levels. Extreme heat can place increased stress on your vehicle’s mechanical functions, affect its braking ability and even lead to tyre blowouts. Pay particular attention to your tyre pressure and treads, check your brakes frequently and make sure your vehicle’s cooling system has the correct fluids so overheating is less likely to occur.
Not sure how to carry out these checks? Read our guide to maintenance here
Make sure you take plenty of cold water with you before heading out on long journeys, and wear light clothing if it’s warm outside as even with air con it can get very hot in the vehicle. Open doors and windows before you set off and allow a few extra minutes to circulate air to help cool your car down and ease discomfort, just remember to keep doors and windows locked when leaving your vehicle unattended.
Remember to bring an extra pair of appropriate driving shoes if you’re heading to the beach, as driving barefoot or in flip flops can be dangerous.
Traffic can increase significantly during the summer, with tourists and holidaymakers packing the roads. Expect journey times to increase and possible traffic jams along the way, so plan your route in advance and check traffic and weather conditions before you go. If you’re expecting to be on a journey that’s longer than two hours be sure to plan a route with plenty of breaks along the way.
Around 1 in 4 of us suffer from hay fever, and allergies can seriously affect your driving. If you’re one of the unlucky ones, then remember the following:
If you are taking over the counter or prescription drug for hay fever be sure to check the information before you drive. Certain antihistamines and hay fever tablets can not only impair your ability to drive, but could cause you to fail the driving drug test. This could see you fined up to £5000 and have points added to your licence.
Glare from the sun can impact vision and dazzle you while driving. Reduce the effects by wearing sunglasses, using your sun visor and making sure your windscreen is clean before setting off.
Driving when tired can be dangerous, and the warm weather can make you drowsy. Keep a bottle of water in your vehicle to keep yourself hydrated and alert. Try to include several short stops over the course of your journey and don’t eat a heavy meal or drink any alcohol before driving.
As anyone with a long journey to a holiday destination knows: bored kids can inevitably lead to arguments and distractions. As with tiredness, forward planning is your friend. Prepare plenty of things to entertain them, such as car games like I Spy, DVD players or tablets so they can watch movies and play games. Also, remember to schedule regular stops so they can stretch their legs and get fresh air.
The last thing anyone wants is their summer holiday ruined by their vehicle breaking down, but if it does happen it’s important to be prepared. That why it’s important to make sure you have the right breakdown cover for you.
Keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, this might include a coat, torch and portable phone charger. A full list of emergency items to keep to hand can be found here
If you break down on a motorway, you’ll be easier to find if you call from an emergency SOS phone. Your breakdown provider can call you back on your mobile with any updates if necessary.
We understand no matter how prepared you are accidents happen. Please contact us immediately if you do ever need our help.