Safe Summer Driving Tips You Should Know

Jack Dreyer | Monday 8th August 2022 10:30am

Yellow Volkswagen Beetle with summertime objects stacked on top of it like a surfboard, beach umbrella, guitar, and beach games.

Driving in hot weather — it’s a completely different experience to winter driving. So it follows that your preparations should be different, too!

The summer season can mean higher temperatures and higher stress levels for both you and your vehicle. It’s typically a season where other road users are less reliable and more prone to road-rage, so it’s important to understand the risks and how to drive safely.

The dangers of driving in hot weather

Traffic jam in a city during summer.

Before we dive into our tips for summer driving, it’s important we understand some of the risks on the roads in this season.

1. An increase in drink drivers

While it’s great to get out and enjoy the sunny days while they last, it can mean that some people overindulge before they get behind the wheel. As a result, there’s an increase in the number of drink drivers who are out on the roads.

In the UK, there are strict alcohol limits in place when it comes to driving, and if a person is found to be in a vehicle while under the influence, they could land themselves in a fine, ban, or even time in prison.

Put simply, it’s just not worth drinking and then getting into the driving seat — it puts you and other road users in serious danger.

2. Allergies can make driving more difficult

The summer months can be a struggle for those who suffer with hay fever - especially when it comes to driving.

It’s a good idea to get in the habit of wearing sunglasses while you’re behind the wheel to protect your eyes from pollen particles. Driving with the windows up will also prevent pollen particles from entering your vehicle — make sure you have pollen filters fitted & a good air conditioning system!

You can also take an effective antihistamine, but keep in mind that some medicines can cause side effects such as sleepiness — so it’s important to use a non-drowsy version.

3. Longer journey times

Whether you’re travelling abroad, or driving to a destination within the UK, you may find yourself driving long distances in hot weather. Not only that, but everyone else has the same idea! So traffic tends to be worse from May to September.

Allow yourself extra time to reach your destination, planning your route in advance so that you aren’t travelling at peak times.

4. More young people on the roads

Since schools, colleges and universities take a break during the summer months, it’s important to be aware that there will most likely be more young people out and about on the roads – many of whom may have only recently passed their driving tests.

The inexperience of these drivers means that they are at a higher risk of being involved in an accident, so it’s worth bearing this in mind and making sure you’re extra cautious when you’re behind the wheel.

5. Warm weather can impact your tyres

Did you know that the rise in temperature during the summer can have an impact on your tyre pressure? During sunny spells, the pressure in each tyre can fluctuate, and unless each one is inflated to the correct level, you could be putting yourself in danger.

If one or more of your tyres are incorrectly inflated, this could have an impact on your grip and handling, meaning you might not be in full control of the vehicle. This can be particularly dangerous if you’re driving at high speed.

To avoid this problem, it helps to get into the habit of checking your tyres to make sure each one is inflated correctly - especially before you embark on a long journey.

Our summer driving tips

Carry out regular tyre checks

Woman topping up air in tyres.

Make sure you’re checking the condition of your tyres on a regular basis, including:

If you don’t have time, aren’t sure how, or think there’s an issue with your tyres, you can book a free tyre check at any of our centres here.

Can you drive winter tyres in summer?

In short, no — it’s not a good idea to leave your winter tyres on for the summer season. Winter tyres are made with a softer tread that will wear much faster in hot conditions. You’ll end up having to replace them sooner and they’ll be far less effective at keeping you safe.

So, make sure that your car is fitted with the right kind of tyres for the season — Summer or All-Season Tyres.

Stay cool & hydrated on the road

Woman staying hydrated during a summer drive by drinking water.

When it’s warm outside, there’s nothing worse than being cooped up in a car. On long journeys, if you’re not careful, the inside of your vehicle can become very hot and uncomfortable. This, in turn, can lead to fatigue.

To keep cool and stay alert, crank up the air conditioning or turn your air to the coldest setting possible. It’s a good idea to make sure your air conditioning is in good condition before the hot season sets in.

On top of this, make sure you’re getting enough fluids — you may need to schedule in rest breaks to grab a drink and take a rest before continuing your journey.

Expect the unexpected

Drive ‘defensively’ not ‘offensively’. This means being more cautious and keeping an eye out for lax pavement-users, cyclists, children playing and running into the road, or motorbikes cutting you off in traffic.

Keep a distance from other road users and drive at a safe speed so you can respond quickly in an emergency. As a result of these potential hazards, it’s also crucial to remove all distractions so you can stay focused in the heat.

Never drive fatigued

With later nights and hotter cars, you’re more likely to get tired while driving in the summer months.

Research from Brake shows that 10–20% of all crashes are estimated to be caused by driver fatigue. So don't chance it — If you find yourself yawning more or having trouble concentrating, it’s best to stay off the roads.

Keep your car cool & prepared

It’s not just us humans that feel the strain when it comes to hot weather — there are many more demands put on our cars, too. Check your coolant regularly to prevent your car from overheating.

As for the interior of your vehicle, it’s sensible to park in the shade or put sun shields in the windows. Most of the heat enters your car through the windows, so covering these while you’re parked up will do wonders.

Another essential part of making sure your car is prepped for hot weather is giving it a good clean, focusing particularly on the windows where glare from the sun can reduce visibility. While doing this, you can also check the condition of your windscreen wipers!

Check if your car is hot weather-ready

Woman with a red and white striped top and straw hat leans out of the front window of her red car that's parked near a beach.

We hope these hot weather driving tips will prove useful!

If you find yourself worried about the condition of your car – if it overheats or you want to check you’ve got the right tyres for the season – don’t hesitate to pop into your local Kwik Fit. We’re always on-hand to help you stay safe on the roads, so give us a call to get booked in for a service or repair.

Tags : Tips

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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