Tips for driving in summer
Driving in the heat
With the unexpected rise in temperatures, here are some tips to help when driving in the heat!
It is important to keep your driving environment comfortable to reduce fatigue. Driving in high temperatures can cause drowsiness and make you feel tired more quickly. Many people don’t realise how dangerous this can be. It impairs a motorist’s alertness and concentration when driving. Their reaction time is lowered massively and when you are drowsy it may result in poor decision making.
It is a good idea to keep yourself hydrated during your car during to prevent feeling drowsy and to stay alert behind the wheel. It is important that you feel well rested before any car journey especially one in the hot weather. If you start to feel tired, take a break, pull over as soon as it is safe and stay hydrated.
Don’t let your car overheat!
When the sun shines, the interior of your vehicle can get very hot especially if your car is black in colour and your seats are leather or plastic! It is a good idea to keep very airy while on the road so use air conditioning or let the cool air in through the windows. Car engines are inclined to overheat when exposed to the sun, so to avoid a potential breakdown inspect the coolant level of your car before your journey and during your journey.
The engine oil helps keep the engine cool so inspect this also. When you are parked try to keep your car under the shade so the inside and the engine of your vehicle doesn’t overheat. The summer heat can cause the road to expand making it more difficult to drive and also an increase in the road becoming soft. A sudden change in the weather like a rain shower may result in slippery surfaces. These hazardous conditions raise the chances of an accident while driving and may affect the car's steering and braking. Motorists should ensure to drive at a safe speed and to leave a gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
Block out sun glare
While driving in sunny conditions it is important that you can clearly see the roads and sun glare can be a hazard if the driver’s view is compromised by the very bright light. The sun glare can make it much more difficult to see the road ahead of them creating an added risk to motorists. It is important to take advantage of the sun visor provided in your vehicle to reduce the sun glare. Wearing polarized sunglasses while driving can prevent the sun from dazzling you in the car and make sure your windscreen is clean, as a dirty window can interfere with your visibility. Keep your windscreen washer fluid topped up in case you need to remove debris from the window.
If you are having difficulty seeing the road, leave more room between you and the next vehicle and use the lane markings to help lead you. If the sun is in your eyes, it is likely to be in the eyes of other motorists. To help them see you on the road it is useful to turn on your headlights to increase your visibility to people around you. If the sun glare gets to be too much and you should slow down your car and pull over when it is safe to do so. Make sure you window screen in clean without any marks as to not hinder your ability to see the road ahead clearly.
Monitor your tyres
The high heat can aggravate your car's rubber tyres. Before setting out on your journey you should always check your tyres condition when the tyre is cold. When driving in the heat, the pressure of the tyre will increase as the air expands with heat. Under-inflated tyres can cause heat in friction becoming even hotter while over-inflated tyres can be dangerous as they can become very over-inflated quickly which may result in a tyre blowout. Under or over-inflated tyres can be a big risk on the roads when driving in the summer months so make sure to always carry a spare tyre. For extra guidance address your vehicle manual. For more information on monitoring your tyre pressure check out our piece on tyres here.
Be careful of road rage
The warm weather can cause us to become more agitated and stressed out. If you start to feel tense in any way you should drink water to keep hydrated or pull over when it is safe to do so for a break. You can take deep breaths to relieve muscular tension. With a calm approach, try and fully concentrate on your safe driving as tension from warm weather can increase the chances of road rage for motorists.
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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