Summer driving – how to stay safe on the road
Good news – a heatwave is on its way!
According to the latest 25-day forecast from the Met Office, the sun is about to put its hat on and temperatures are predicted to reach 28°C by the end of July. And with many people about to head off on UK staycations and family day trips during the summer hols, it’s perfect timing.
Driving in the summer can pose a number of challenges, especially if the roads are busy. So to help keep you and other road users safe, here we’ve rounded up just a few summer driving tips.
10 summer driving tips
1. Plan the journey
Between people travelling to the beach and those taking their caravan for a weekend away, warm and sunny weather always leads to an increase in traffic. Before you head out, check the weather and traffic conditions in the local area and use a route planner to adjust your route if necessary.
2. Check your tyres
Extra heat on the roads can weaken your tyres and increase the chance of a blowout or puncture – particularly if they’re underinflated or damaged. Prior to setting off, you should therefore check your tyre tread and pressure very carefully. And if you’re using a vehicle that’s been in storage for a long time (e.g. a caravan), inspect the sidewalls for any cracks.
3. Prevent sun glare
Impaired vision due to the sun is a common cause of accidents in the summer.
A dirty windscreen can intensify the glare and make it very difficult for you to see. So, before starting your journey, be sure to clean it thoroughly – both inside and out. Keep your windscreen washer fluid topped up and replace worn or faulty windscreen wipers as soon as possible. And if the sun is shining, always wear sunglasses whilst driving and use the overhead sun visors.
4. Keep your engine cool
Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather, and this can often lead to a breakdown.
To prevent overheating, make sure you have enough coolant fluid and check the coolant reservoir for any visible signs of damage. If your car doesn’t have stop-start technology, it’s also a good idea to turn off the engine when you’re in standstill traffic. This won’t burn any more fuel, but it can help to keep your engine cool throughout the journey.
5. Start with a comfortable temperature
If it’s 22°C outside, a locked car can reach 47°C within just one hour. So you should always try to park your vehicle in the shade. If that’s not possible – and it’s been sat in the sunshine for a long time – allow a few extra minutes before you set off to cool it down.
Either open all the windows or switch on the air conditioning (AC) at full power. This will help to reduce the temperature and prevent immediate discomfort when you first get in the car.
6. Dress appropriately
If the weather is hot, wear light clothing that will keep you cool until the AC kicks in.
Also, think carefully about your choice of shoes. Unsuitable summer footwear may affect your ability to control the pedals. And whilst it’s not technically illegal to drive in flip-flops or sandals, if you have an accident, it could lead to a careless driving charge. Either wear a pair of flat comfortable shoes or keep a spare pair in the car, that you can easily change into before driving.
7. Pack a ‘summer driving’ kit
It’s very important to stay hydrated whilst driving in the summer. So be sure to take plenty of water for both you and your passengers, particularly if you’re going on a long journey, and use insulated re-usable bottles to help keep it cool.
It’s also a good idea to pack a few essentials – just in case you get stuck in a traffic jam or your vehicle suddenly breaks down – including a mobile phone charger, reflective tripod, sunscreen, car window sunshades, a torch and a few snacks (preferably ones that won’t melt!).
8. Take regular breaks
Driving when you’re tired is incredibly dangerous. And if your car is hot and stuffy, this can exacerbate the fatigue and make you feel even more drowsy.
When driving in the summer, you should therefore plan regular breaks throughout the journey. And if you do start to feel tired, switch on the AC, take a sip of water and head to the nearest safe place to stop. It may be worth having a quick 20-minute nap or getting someone else to drive instead.
9. Consider summer allergies
Hay fever can be highly problematic for divers. Sneezing at the wheel can reduce your vision. And some hay fever medications are known to cause side effects – such as drowsiness – that could significantly affect your driving ability. So always check the label before taking any tablets.
It can also help to keep the windows closed. And if you feel like you’re about to sneeze, slow down and leave a larger gap between you and the car in front.
10. Be wary of slippery roads
In high temperatures, road surfaces can become soft – affecting driving conditions. So always be wary of this. And keep in mind, UK weather can change very suddenly. Driving through heavy rain and thunderstorms poses its own set of challenges and it’s important to be prepared. Check the weather forecast before setting off and adapt your driving style accordingly.
Driving our hire vehicles in the summer
The tyres, coolant levels, and windscreen wipers are all checked regularly, to ensure they’re in full working order. And before we hand over the keys, we thoroughly clean the windscreen and ensure the vehicle is 100% suitable for safe summer driving. Therefore, as long as you follow the tips listed above, your journey in the heatwave should be as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
For further summer driving tips – or help choosing the ideal rental vehicle for your requirements – please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can either give us a call on 0345 222 1022 or send an email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.