Jack Dreyer | Monday 8th August 2022 10:30am
Driving in hot weather ó itís 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. Itís typically a season where other road users are less reliable and more prone to road-rage, so itís important to understand the risks and how to drive safely.
The dangers of driving in hot weather
Before we dive into our tips for summer driving, itís important we understand some of the risks on the roads in this season.
1. An increase in drink drivers
While itís 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, thereís 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, itís just not worth drinking and then getting into the driving seat ó 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.
Itís a good idea to get in the habit of wearing sunglasses while youíre behind the wheel to protect your eyes from pollen particles. Driving with the windows up will also prevent pollen particles from entering your vehicle ó 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 ó so itís important to use a non-drowsy version.
3. Longer journey times
Whether youíre 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 arenít travelling at peak times.
4. More young people on the roads
Since schools, colleges and universities take a break during the summer months, itís important to be aware that there will most likely be more young people out and about on the roads Ė 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 itís worth bearing this in mind and making sure youíre extra cautious when youíre 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 youíre 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
Can you drive winter tyres in summer?
In short, no ó itís 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. Youíll end up having to replace them sooner and theyíll be far less effective at keeping you safe.
Stay cool & hydrated on the road
When itís warm outside, thereís nothing worse than being cooped up in a car. On long journeys, if youíre 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. Itís 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 youíre getting enough fluids ó you may need to schedule in rest breaks to grab a drink and take a rest before continuing your journey.
Expect the unexpected
Drive Ďdefensivelyí not Ďoffensivelyí. 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, itís also crucial to remove all distractions so you can stay focused in the heat.
Never drive fatigued
With later nights and hotter cars, youíre more likely to get tired while driving in the summer months.
Research from Brake shows that 10Ė20% of all crashes are estimated to be caused by driver fatigue. So don't chance it ó If you find yourself yawning more or having trouble concentrating, itís best to stay off the roads.
Keep your car cool & prepared
Itís not just us humans that feel the strain when it comes to hot weather ó 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, itís 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 youíre 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
We hope these hot weather driving tips will prove useful!
If you find yourself worried about the condition of your car Ė if it overheats or you want to check youíve got the right tyres for the season Ė donít hesitate to pop into your local Kwik Fit. Weíre 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.
Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.
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