Top tips for driving in summer
Winter might bring the most hazardous driving conditions, but that doesn't mean summer's all plain sailing. Sure, the sun makes jumping in the car and heading off on a road trip all the more fun — but extremely hot conditions can present some potential problems.
If you're heading off to Europe or further afield on a driving holiday this year, you might also experience soaring temperatures. Here's a quick guide on how to stay cool, calm and collected should the hot weather become a factor.
Check your tyre pressures
Regularly check the condition of your tyres. Higher temperatures in summer could increase your risk of a blowout if your tyres are already damaged or at the wrong pressure.
Keep your cool
To avoid overheating your engine, check your coolant levels before you set off on a long journey. Heat can also aggravate cooling system issues.
Beware of glare
We all want to make the most of those rare moments when the sun decides to show itself, but glare from a windscreen can cause accidents. While you can't stop the glare, you can reduce the effect by making sure your windscreen's nice and clean and replacing any worn or damaged windscreen wipers. Having a pair of clean sunglasses to hand in your car can also help, but just avoid any lenses that darken in strong sunlight.
Hay fever sufferers have had it pretty bad this year. If your hay fever's been particularly troublesome, ask someone else to drive to avoid getting distracted behind the wheel. If you can't avoid driving, make sure the medication you're taking doesn't cause drowsiness. You can also reduce pollen grains in the car by closing windows and air vents and get rid of dust by regularly cleaning carpets and mats.
Did you know?
- 14% of road fatalities were caused by drink driving in 2014.
- IAM research suggests a drink driving conviction can end up costing up to £50,000
- There's no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol if you're driving.
Source: Think! Drink driving
- In 2013, rural roads had almost 9 times as many fatalities as motorways.
- Rural roads are statistically the most dangerous type of road for all road users.
- Even if you know a rural road well, doing the full speed limit isn't always safe.
With all the grey skies and rain showers of late, you might not be worried about becoming dehydrated. But, believe it or not, the temperatures have increased so you need to make sure you stay well watered as this will keep your concentration levels up. It goes without saying excessive alcohol consumption and driving don't mix — keep an eye on your units if you're heading out to a beer garden this summer to make sure you don't fall over the limit.
Travelling with pets
Whether driving abroad, travelling on a staycation or heading to the beach for the day, taking our furry friends with us can make it more enjoyable. But animals can't cool down as effectively as humans so they are more likely to suffer from heat stroke and dehydration. Avoid this by never leaving them alone in the car, not travelling during the heat of the day, having a supply of water, and planning where you can stop off on route for water breaks.
Making sure you keep on top of car checks and being a responsible pet owner means you and your four legged friends can enjoy the summer, come rain or shine.