Top tips to stay safe driving this summer

Top tips for summer driving

Okay, so summer’s officially here and if you’re anything like us you’re itching to get away for a nice weekend.

Despite how much fun summer is, the combination of heat, long trips and heavy loads can place enormous demands on your car.

So, before you pull out of the driveway, we’d like to suggest that you make sure that Old Faithful is ready for a long, and hopefully hot trip.

Have a read of our top tips for summer driving and, fingers crossed, we’re sure that you and your motor will have no problems on the road this summer.

1. Prepare your car

Oil

It’s not just the summer you should be checking your engine oil; it’s an essential part of car maintenance no matter what time of year.

However, it’s even more important in summer when your car is under more strain than usual.

How to minimise impact:

  • Check oil levels regularly, especially if you’re going on a long journey
  • Make sure you get the right oil. Using the wrong oil can not only mean that you most likely won’t get to your destination, but it’ll also set you back a fair amount too

Coolant

It should come as no surprise that your engine will get extremely hot in warm weather, especially if you’re stuck in standstill traffic.

Windscreens also get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare.

How to minimise impact:

  • Make sure your coolant is always topped up
  • Turn off your engine during traffic
  • Make sure you’ve always got more than enough windscreen wash

Tyres

Tyres are one of the first parts of your car to be impacted by hot weather, with tyre blowouts a common occurrence in hotter weather.

According to the AA, tyres with existing damage that are underinflated will become even more aggravated in higher temperatures, which increases the likelihood of blowouts and punctures.

It’s extremely important to keep your tyre pressure at the optimum level for summer driving

How to minimise impact:

  • Check tyre condition and pressure on your car before setting off

Battery

Did you know that a hot summer can be worse for your car battery than a cold winter?

High temperatures and longer journeys can put your battery through its paces, particularly if you’re charging phones, tablets and other electronics while travelling.

How to minimise impact:

  • Get your battery checked out
  • Test it before leaving on a long journey

2. Keep hydrated

While many of us top up our oil, coolant and windscreen wash before going on a long journey, few of us consider our own fluid levels.
Driving in a stuffy car on a hot summer’s day can cause you to lose significant amounts of water.

Being dehydrated affects your concentration levels and coordination. It’s actually been revealed that driving dehydrated can have a similar impact on your driving as if you were under the effects of alcohol?

The majority of UK drivers don’t know the symptoms of dehydration. These include:

  • Loss of focus
  • Feeling drowsy
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Slower reaction times
  • Muscle cramps

How to minimise impact:

  • Always carry enough water in your car for you and your passengers
  • Stop every couple of hours
  • Snack on food rich in water such as cucumber

3. Hay fever

Around 10 million people in England alone suffer from hay fever, and whilst that number seems high, what’s more, is that hay fever has caused over 2 million crashes.

This comes as no surprise when you think if you’re sneezing on a 70mph road you’ll have lost your vision for as much as 100 meters!

While hay fever tablets are helping many sufferers get on with life, some tablets can have some side effects that would impair a person’s ability to drive.

How to minimise impact:

  • Wear sunglasses
  • Make sure your medication states that you’re okay to drive whilst taking them
  • Don’t drive with the windows down

4. Manage the suns glare

Driving can be hard on your eyes, period.

But during summer months, when the sun’s out in full force, there’s also an increased amount of sun glare coming off the road and other vehicles, giving your eyes that extra level of strain>

This is particularly dangerous during the early morning and late evening, so invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses. They’ll help protect your eyes from fatigue and damage, cut down on glare and make it easier to see clearly.

How to minimise impact:

  • Keep a pair of polarised sunglasses in your car

5. Drink driving

Other than the beach we can’t think of anywhere better to head to than a nice beer garden when the suns out.

In fact, let’s face it anywhere outside away from work is the place we all want to be.

As a result, summer drink driving becomes a major problem each year and with the number of drink-drive related deaths currently at an eight-year high, it’s likely cops will carry out even more tests this summer period.

How to minimise impact:

  • Arrange a lift
  • Have a soft drink

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