Most Brits love nothing more than basking in the sunshine, and according to reports, Britain is about to hit a heatwave, as tropical air from the Atlantic Azores islands engulf the nation over the next 10 days.
This will affect us all, but for those planning road trips it’s essential to be prepared. Drivers need to be informed about the hazards the heat can bring – especially as drivers clock up almost 20% more miles than they do in cold weather.
To make things simple, Tech Digest and LeasePlan UK have created an easy to follow checklist – comprising 12 top tips – for driving when it heats up during the summer months.
Avoid your car overheating:
Check your car fluids are at the correct level to avoid potentially damaging your engine. If the liquid doesn’t reach the full line on the coolant reservoir, add a 50/50 mix of water and coolant until it does.
Keep your car cool inside:
Ensure a relaxing drive by not getting into an already baking hot car. Parking in the shade, opening your doors/windows or running your air-con for a few minutes before setting off will cool your car down. But remember to switch your air con off when the car is at a desired temperature to save fuel.
Use medication for any allergies:
According to the NHS, around 10 million people suffer from hay fever in England alone – it’s a condition which can be a real problem when driving especially as it’s very hard to keep your eyes open when sneezing (see article here) Make sure you use hayfever tablets which don’t have any known side effects such as blurred vision or drowsiness which could obviously impair your driving.
Avoid sun glare:
Impaired vision from the sun’s powerful rays is a common cause of accidents at this time of year. Replace worn windscreen wipers to help keep your windscreen clean, and use sunglasses and overhead sun visors to help block out the sun from your eyes. Windscreens get particularly dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Make sure you have plenty of windscreen washer fluid to help you maintain a clear view in the sun.
Never leave a pet locked in a vehicle:
Even with a sun-visor and window open, you should not leave your pet locked in a vehicle. As with children, dogs can suffer from heatstroke so are unable to cool themselves, and this can have fatal consequences.
Always check the temperature of your child’s car seat:
The uncovered buckles of car seats can reach such high temperatures that they can cause second degree burns.
Watch out for dehydration:
Dehydration can be as deadly as alcohol for drivers with severe symptoms such as dizziness and fainting posing a massive risk to safety. During summer, there is a 146% increase in driver errors due to dehydration so make sure you take plenty of water with you on long drives.
Check your tyres regularly:
As the day heats up, so does the road and the air in your tyres. Put a reminder on your phone to check pressures to ensure they aren’t over-pressurised.
Never leave a young, elderly or vulnerable person alone in a car:
Even with the window left open, the temperature inside the car can end up being double the outside temperature.
Check your car battery:
If you haven’t had your car battery changed in the last five years, make sure it is replaced or tested as the heat takes a heavy toll on batteries.
Get an emergency car kit:
In case of a breakdown, be sure to have an emergency kit in your car that includes items such as a water bottle, warning triangle and jump leads, as well as a reflective emergency blanket that can be used for shade. In many EU countries having an emergency car kit comprising these items is compulsory. See our feature on What you need when driving abroad.
Read your vehicle service schedule:
In extreme heat, belts and hoses which provide air-conditioning, can crack and blister. Make sure you pay close attention to any engine warning lights that may appear!