Long sunny days and heatwaves can provide the perfect opportunity to get out on the road, but there are a number of things to consider before heading out into the sun. Check out our summer driving tips to help you stay safer and more comfortable on the roads during periods of hot weather.
Maintain a comfortable temperature
As the weather can be unpredictable, it is important that you have the right car for the conditions. Some cars do not contain air conditioning, so if you're not comfortable with heat or are travelling with young children or elderly people, remember to request a car that has working air conditioning and to check that it works before you leave the car rental location.
Reduce the impact of glare
Don’t forget those all-important sunnies to help avoid glare and strain on your eyes. Make sure that they're non light-reactive, as light-reactive sunglasses can be unsuitable for driving, as the car windscreen can delay the speed that the lenses change, which could lead to your vision being impacted by glare. We also find that ensuring your windscreen is clean can also reduce glare.
Take regular breaks to rehydrate
If you’re travelling with young children, you may want to avoid multiple stops and the inevitable ‘are we nearly there yet’, but it’s worth carrying a couple of large bottles of water to keep hydrated, particularly in case you get caught in a traffic jam.
Be extra vigilant of runners, cyclists and motorcyclists
The sun often encourages people to dust off their bicycles, motorcycles, and trainers and get out on the roads. It is important that you are always aware of other road users and give pedestrians and cyclists as much space as possible when overtaking. When following a motorcycle, it is recommended that you increase the distance between you are the motorcycle compared to other vehicles, as they are typically able to stop within a much shorter distance than a car.
High temperatures can exacerbate any existing damage to your vehicle and may increase the risk of a tyre bursting. It is also important that you check your tyre pressure regularly because the wrong pressure can cause problems, particularly in the heat. You should check tyre pressure and replace any with signs of cracking.
Using a roof box rather than a trailer can be more fuel efficient as they tend to create less drag on the car. It is important that you check the tyre pressure requirements as the increased weight of a roof box may impact this. Another way to reduce drag and be as fuel efficient as possible is to keep the windows closed and use the air conditioning to keep the car cool.
High temperatures of the summer can cause problems with the cooling system in a car so you should check your coolant reservoir regularly for wetness or white marks on coolant hoses as this could be a sign of a problem. You should also listen to the fan when the engine is running as a loud fan could indicate an issue with your vehicle.
Parking precautions when driving in hot weather
When parking in hot weather, be aware that the inside of your car will heat up considerably when left in the sun for even a relatively short period of time. This can be particularly unpleasant in a leather upholstered car. To prevent this happening, try to park in shaded areas. If this isn't an option, consider carrying a throw in the car to place over seats, reducing the absorption of heat from the sun when they are not in use.
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