Essential Summer Driving Tips

Essential Guide to Summer Driving

Apart from accidentally getting burnt in the garden, cooking sausages to within an inch of their lives and declaring that they aren’t burnt just ‘properly cooked’.
The summer has some potentially unexpected effects on driving; we cover off the most common things that could put a dampener on this great weather.

Overheating

Cars are designed to deal with a range of temperatures; it’s up to the cooling system to maintain the optimal temp. But if you’re low on coolant (anti-freeze) or have the wrong coolant in then, this can lead to overheating.

  • Check and top up coolant when the engine is cold.
  • Be careful when removing the cap as it can be pressurised if hot/warm.
  • Top up with the correct mix (ratio) of coolant (see owners manual)
  • No coolant, top up with water it’s better than overheating.
  • If the car has overheated, let it cool before adding any water/coolant.
    (a rapid decrease in temp can crack the radiator).

Tyres

Tyre pressures can rise and fall in the changing temperatures. Check them regularly to help maintain the tyre and to increase fuel economy.

Check the tread depth currently 1.6mm (in a continuous band around the central three-quarters of the tyre) in the UK legal limit, at time of writing. (source gov.uk)

Should you get a puncture, if it’s in the centre, then it can probably be repaired. However, if it’s in the side wall or near the edge, it’s better to replace the tyre.

Glare

Glare (dazzle) can be one of the biggest dangers of driving in the summer. It occurs when sunlight hits the dirt on the windscreen.
According to figures from the Department for Transport, the sun’s glare was a contributory factor in an average of 28 road deaths a year between 2010 and 2013. In addition, around 3,900 road users were injured each year.

To prevent glare keep your windows clean inside and out, and make sure to top up your washer reservoir. In addition to this, check the condition of your wipers as they can cause smears and keep a pair of sunglasses in the car.

When turning corners or changing direction, remember that you may be turning into direct sunlight and act accordingly.

Road Works

With the good weather comes increased road maintenance to fix the damage caused by severe weather conditions.

Be wary of loose chippings, which could damage your car and increase the chance of skidding on the road. Stick to temporary speed limits and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.

Plan ahead, websites such as the BBC or AA and apps like Google Maps or Waze can highlight delays or road closures.

Hayfever

Hands up if you were expecting this to be on the list (no-one? good!). If your hayfever is particularly bad, its best to try to avoid driving. But if its safe to drive remember:

  • Make sure any medication you’re taking doesn’t cause drowsiness.
  • Close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car.
  • Clean the inside of the car regularly to reduce dust.
  • Wear sunglasses to block out bright sunlight.

Tractors

via GIPHY

Slow moving vehicles can send you potty, but be careful, the driver may be in a soundproof cab or wearing ear protectors and may not hear you coming.

  • Give them lots of room
  • Don’t be hasty, only overtake when it’s absolutely safe to do so.
  • Be mindful that the vehicle maybe longer than you think.

Fuel Prices

While the warmer weather can increase fuel economy, having the air con on or windows open will more than overcome the increase gained. Open the doors to let the car cool down before setting off (remember never leave an unlocked vehicle unattended).

Plan for fuel, some service stations can be ridiculously expensive often 10p+ per litre more than others. You can check prices online at sites like petrolprices.com or on Sat Nav apps like Waze which can navigate you to the lowest priced station in your area.

We hope you have a great summer and enjoy the extra private practice that the warmer, lighter nights allow. Remember it’s better to arrive home safe and late than not at all!

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