Anyone living in Britain knows that when it comes to the weather, anything other than wind and rain is something of a rarity. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn't be properly prepared for hitting the road during our short-lived periods of glorious summer sun.
Driving in hot weather conditions can pose significant challenges and risks to the health and safety of drivers, passengers and passers-by alike. That’s why we've compiled a list of 10 essential summer driving safety tips to help you stay safe (and cool) on the roads this summer.
Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive in the sun by not getting into an already baking hot car.
Parking in the shade, opening your doors and windows or running your air-con for a few minutes before setting off will cool your car down, so that you can avoid getting worked up by the heat before a journey.
Remember to turn your air con off again when the car is at a desired temperature in order to save fuel.
Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather, especially in standstill traffic. Ensure your coolant is always topped up and turn off your engine during traffic, which will also help save fuel.
Windscreens also get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Plenty of windscreen washer fluid will help you maintain a clear view in the sun.
It’s extremely important to keep hydrated when stuck in a long traffic jam under the sun. Take plenty of cold water with you before heading out on longer journeys – enough for you and all of your passengers.
According to the NHS, around 10 million people suffer from hay fever in England alone – a condition which can be very problematic when driving.
The last place you want to be constantly sneezing is at the wheel of a car going at 70mph, but hay fever tablets are known to have side effects such as blurred vision and drowsiness, which would evidently impair a person’s ability to drive.
Therefore, always check the labels of your medication before taking them – especially if you’re planning on driving shortly afterwards.
On hot, sunny days people flock to beer gardens, barbeques and festivals. As a result, summer drink driving becomes a major problem each year.
Before heading out to a summer social event, consider how you are going to get home. Don’t drink if you’re driving and find another method of transport if you want to drink. This way you can enjoy the hot weather without putting yours and other people’s lives at risk.
Too many people still think it is okay to leave their dog in the car during the summer. The RSPCA says that if it’s 22 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees within one hour, which can lead to heart-breaking consequences.
Even parking in shade or leaving the windows down does not make the car a safe place for a dog in summer. So unless you can take your dog with you wherever you go, leave it at home.
Impaired vision from the sun is a common cause of accidents during the summer. Replace worn windscreen wipers to help keep your windscreen clean, and use sunglasses and overhead sun visors to help block out the sun from your eyes.
Tyre blowouts are a more common occurrence in hotter weather. According to the AA, tyres with existing damage that are under inflated will become even more aggravated in higher temperatures, which increases the likelihood of blowouts and punctures.
Therefore, it’s extremely important to keep your tyre pressure at the optimum level for summer driving.
Drivers have to share the roads with a lot more than just other cars during the summer months. Better weather and longer days attract far more tractors, caravans, horse riders, cyclists and walkers.
It’s vital to remain calm driving down country lanes in particular, and to avoid any risky overtaking that could cause an accident.
Motorcyclists appear more often also, so check your mirrors thoroughly to ensure you’re always aware of what’s around you.
Finally, in Britain we always pay the price for little good weather we get. Be prepared to adapt your driving style in the event of any sharp changes in weather, as driving through heavy summer storms comes with a totally different set of challenges.