Summer driving tips to keep you cool as it heats up

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Summer’s in full swing and with welcome hot temperatures blanketing the UK in a heatwave, it’s the perfect time to head off on an adventure behind the wheel.

Over in the States, Americans are already halfway through their so-called ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer’ — the time of year that shockingly sees the “average number of fatal teen driver crashes climb by 15%”.

While the effects of this phenomenon are not as pronounced on these shores, summer can still be a challenging time for drivers of all ages. To help you out, we’ve put together our top tips for staying safe on the roads this summer.

Manage the glare

Driving in the summertime means driving in the sun (even in the UK). While this might be a great chance to top up your tan in traffic, the glare from the sun can be blinding and cause real problems.

To help yourself out, make sure your windscreen is clean and clear — especially of any dead insects that can smear the glass — and your screen wash is topped up. It can also pay to keep a spare pair of sunglasses in the glovebox as well, just in case you get caught out by unexpected rays.

Wear proper footwear

Hot weather means a lot of us will be wearing flip-flops, sandals or even going barefoot. It also means a lot of wet and sandy feet, too, which does not make a good combination for safe summer driving.

Driving in flip-flops or even barefoot isn’t actually illegal in the UK — but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to ditch the shoes. If you’re spending a lot of time outside this summer, chuck a pair of trainers in the back to make sure you always have safe footwear to drive in.

Check your car

Summer can be a hard time for your car, so carrying out some simple summer car checks can be a great way to ensure your motor is maintained and keeps you on the road.

Check tyre pressures, fluid levels and battery condition before heading off on any lengthy road trip. The air conditioning unit also needs a look at, to make sure you stay cool and composed on the road while the temperatures heat up outside.

Keep well-watered

Studies have shown that drivers who are dehydrated are just as susceptible to making mistakes on the road as those who’ve had an alcoholic drink.

Are you drinking enough before getting behind the wheel? Take a fresh bottle of water with you when you’re heading out in the car to ensure that you stay hydrated, especially if there’s rush hour traffic or roadworks, so you can stay alert in jams.

Stay focused

Driving in the summer can be distracting, but it doesn’t matter whether you’re having a deep and meaningful chat with your passenger or England have just scored a goal in Russia, you need to make sure your focus remains firmly on the road in front of you.

Too many accidents are caused by drivers simply not paying due care and attention to the road. Make sure you stay alert and if your passengers are distracting you from the job at hand, tell them to pipe down.

Click that seatbelt

This might be driving safety 101 but some drivers let the hot weather go to their head and forget this oh so simple lifesaver. Even if you’re just nipping back from the beach to your holiday cottage, make sure you buckle up.

And that goes for all your passengers, too, so double check that the kids in the back are always belted up too, no matter how far you’re driving.

Be careful with hay fever

Hay fever can be a nightmare for drivers in summer, as high temperatures lead to even higher pollen counts. If your hay fever is particularly bad, it’s probably best to get someone else to drive because you don’t want to have a sneezing fit halfway down the motorway.

If you do drive, make sure you close all windows and air vents and use the air-con to keep yourself cool and keep pollen out. Have some tissues close to hand too, just in case they’re needed. Check out more top tips on driving with hay fever.

Accommodate other road users

Summer’s a fun time for driving, but it’s also a great time for other road users and it’s important that motorists accommodate everyone on the road. Horse riders, cyclists, walkers, and joggers are all out and about in force in the summer months.

If you’re driving on country roads, slow down at corners and make sure you give yourself enough time to react to anyone else using the road. If you’re passing horses and cyclists be considerate, slow down, and if it’s not completely safe to pass, don’t.

Stay sober

Heading home from an evening in the pub garden? Been round a friend’s house for a barbecue? If you’ve had a drink, you could be over the drink-drive limit, so ask a friend for a lift or call a cab.

When it comes to alcohol, or anything stronger, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t drive tired

If you’re feeling tired, the best thing you can do is take a break. It’s as simple as that. A cup of coffee can also help keep you alert, but don’t drink alcohol or eat a heavy meal before setting off.

If you’re planning a long road trip this summer, make sure you plan to include a 20-minute break every couple of hours. Not only can this help keep you fresh, but it’s also a great excuse to detour to some great attractions en route.

Get breakdown cover

Summer can mean long drives as you head off in search of that perfect beach or lakeside retreat. Before you head off anywhere, make sure your breakdown cover is full up to date and covers your needs.

A hot and sweaty breakdown is not a great summer look, so check out our breakdown cover options for complete peace of mind on the roads this summer.