Ten tips for summer driving
The winter is behind us and summer is almost here. So, in preparation for those blistering heat waves (fingers crossed), we’ve compiled a list of our top ten tips to help you cope with the driving challenges that hot weather can bring.
1. Avoid the glare
This may seem obvious, but there are plenty of people who don’t wear sunglasses to drive when it’s sunny, even though the sun can be blinding at times.
To reduce glare and improve visibility, always keep a pair of sunglasses in your car and make sure your windscreen is clean and clear before you hit the road.
2. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is vital for both your health and to ensure that your mind stays sharp and focused on the road. Try to make regular stops to keep hydrated on longer journeys and it’s a good idea to carry a bottle of water for those unexpected traffic jams.
3. Don’t try and soldier on
If you suffer from the dreaded hay fever, driving in peak season can be a real challenge for some people.
Sore eyes and sneezing fits can cause distractions and impact how alert you are so keep tissues close by. Always check the label on hay fever medication to make sure you chose a non-drowsy option, but if you’re really struggling, don’t drive.
4. Recommended checks
As always, make sure your tread depth is above the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Tyres that are in good condition and properly inflated can work wonders when it comes to minimising danger and on top of that, they help maximise fuel consumption so that you get the most bang for your buck.
If your tyres are damaged at all or aren’t the right pressure, the high temperatures can increase the risk of a blowout.
On really hot days, it’s also a good idea to check your engine coolant level before you set off to avoid overheating.
5. Do your research before driving abroad
Driving abroad can be a completely different experience to driving in the UK and so it makes sense to do your research before you attempt it.
Every country has different road laws and customs so it’s a good idea to look on GOV.UK to check what you need to drive abroad and get specific driving advice for the country you’re travelling to.
Always remember to check if your insurance policy includes driving abroad.
6. Don’t overfill your car
One of the benefits of travelling by car to your holiday destination is it’s usually easier to take more luggage than if you travel by train or plane, for example.
However, it’s important not to overfill your car with bags. Loose bags in the car can be dangerous if you need to brake suddenly and a hatchback boot that’s full to the brim can impair visibility out of the rear window.
Remember a car will take longer to speed up and to brake if it’s heavier than usual, so always check that your vehicle doesn’t exceed its recommended payload before you set off – you can find this information in your log book.
7. Adapt for extra traffic
Summer brings more traffic and that in turn means more traffic jams – so if you need to be somewhere by a certain time remember to leave extra time for your journey.
You should also be extra aware of cyclists and bikers during this time – summer is the peak riding season and there are more two-wheelers out on the road than normal, so stay vigilant when it comes to checking your mirrors.
8. Take a break
‘Tiredness can kill, take a break’ – we’ve all seen the signs and they’re now such a common sight on UK motorways that they almost fade into the scenery.
But they are there for a reason; tiredness really does kill and it’s such an easy problem to combat. Pulling over for even just a twenty-minute nap when you feel your eyelids start to droop will make the world of difference to your reaction times and focus.
9. Bring a map
The rising popularity of sat navs and apps like Google Maps helps us all get from A to B, but there’s not much technology can do to help when you lose GPS signal, so, keep a paper map in your car for emergencies – you’ll thank us later.
10. Keep your passengers entertained
If your passengers are adults, this is probably not a concern but if you’ve ever driven with children in the car, you’ll know how quickly they can get bored.
Keep a stash of games and books in your boot to keep them occupied – a bored child can be a distraction.
Most importantly of all, trust yourself and always assess the conditions before you set out on any journey. If you don’t feel comfortable or confident driving in the heat, don’t do it.
At mustard.co.uk, we understand the different challenges drivers face, which is why we have created our handy guides full of tips, advice and recommendations to help keep you safe on the road.