Things are heating up in the UK, and road trip season has well and truly arrived. From coastal escapes to weekends in the countryside, summer is a terrific time to hit the road.
Of course, hot weather comes with a unique set of car concerns, especially when the mercury climbs past 30 degrees. To help keep you safe and on-the-road this season, we’ve put together a roundup of the top summer driving tips.
Check your tyre pressure
Don’t forget to check your tyre pressure before you set off on a summer road trip. The higher temperatures that arrive in months like June, July and August can cause tyres to blowout if they’re at the wrong pressure. Best case scenario, your road trip is delayed for a few hours while you wait for roadside assistance. Worst case scenario, the blowout causes a serious accident.
This is an easy one to stay on top of, so no excuses when it comes to checking your tyre pressure! Once a season isn’t enough. Giving your tyres a quick once over before every road trip is one of our top summer driving safety tips.
Practice defensive driving
It’s the oldest trick in the book – expect the unexpected! Summer comes with an increase in road traffic, which means it pays to be extra alert when behind the wheel. Whether it’s a pedestrian stepping out unexpectedly onto a seafront promenade or a car cutting you off on the motorway, being aware of your surroundings and driving defensively is one of the best summer driving tips.
Keep tags on the dashboard
Skyrocketing temperatures can take their toll on engines, especially if you drive an older car. Keeping tags on dashboard warning lights is one of the best ways to avoid causing serious damage to your car. If you see a warning light flick on, pull over immediately and check it out. The oil light needs to be dealt with immediately. If your engine light comes on, it’s usually okay to continue driving, so long as you investigate the problem ASAP.
Keep your car cool
Car cooling systems are put through their paces in summer. Checking your coolant regularly and topping it up when needed is a top summer car safety tip. Keep a spare bottle of coolant in the boot for emergencies!
As well as staying on top of coolant levels, here are some easy ways to minimise the risk of your car overheating on a summer road trip:
- Put up sun shields on the front and back windows when parking the car. This will keep it as cool as possible and make it more pleasant to return to.
- Park in the shade when possible.
- Turn off the AC if your car is prone to overheating in hot weather. It’s not always comfortable for passengers but it does take stress off your engine.
Keep your distance
It doesn’t matter how loud the beach is calling your name. You should always keep a safe stopping distance from the car in front of you. As a standard rule, this should be at least two seconds. Remember – if it starts raining, you’ll need to widen the distance to four seconds.
Carry a spare key
There are all kinds of ways to lose keys on a summer road trip. Some drivers forget to take them out of their pockets before a dip in the sea, while others might misplace them in a sun-drenched beer garden. Avoid the stress of lost keys by issuing a passenger with a spare set. It’s one of the easiest summer driving tips and can save you big headaches.
Stay off your phone
This goes without saying – stay off your phone when you’re a designated driver on a summer road trip!
From accidents to construction detours, there are all kinds of ways a summer road trip can be delayed. Planning ahead and researching your route before you hit the road can save you a whole lot of time and hassle. Charting the fastest route from A to B is also a great way to reduce engine stress during hot weather.
Wear sunscreen and consider installing shades
Just because you’re in the car, it doesn’t mean you won’t get burnt. From lobster-red arms to bright pink noses, it’s all too easy to get fried on hot weather road trips. As well as slathering on sunscreen, consider installing sunshades, especially if you have a baby or toddler strapped into a backseat. They can’t necessarily tell you they’re hot as the sun’s beating down on them through the windows – and by the time you notice, it’s too late.
Best to opt for transparent mesh shades to ensure your visibility isn’t compromised. They’re easy to pick up at your local garage, making this a top summer car safety tip.
Invest in polarised sunglasses
Glare can be a major safety issue on hot weather road trips. Unfortunately, Primark sunglasses just don’t cut it when it comes to cutting out glare. Pro summer driving tip: it’s worth investing in polarised sunglasses, which not only cut out glare but protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
Stay alert and energised
From sun-drenched days on the beach to long walks in the countryside, hot weather road trips are packed with good times. But they can also leave drivers feeling exhausted. It’s important not to drive tired and to always pull over and take a break if needed. As a rule of thumb, aim for a 20-minute break every three hours, at a minimum.
Carry hay fever medication
Not everyone suffers from summer hay fever, but it is quite common. Especially if you’re road tripping in the countryside, where the air can be heavy with pollen. Mild cases aren’t too bad, but serious episodes can leave you watery eyed and sneezing behind the wheel.
Carrying hay fever medication is one of our top summer driving tips if you’re prone to the condition. Make sure it’s non-drowsy if you’re driving! Don’t hesitate to hand over the keys to someone else if you experience a bad hay fever spell – or pull over if you need to.
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