Summer Driving Advice
Drive with care any time of the year
Driving in summer can be just as hazardous as driving in winter and requires the same care and attention. We all enjoy sunny, warm weather, but the sunshine and high temperatures can cause problems with vision and the smooth running of your vehicle.
As at any time of year, you should keep the car well maintained. Cleaning the windows inside and out and making sure that worn wiper blades are replaced regularly will help greatly with vision. Tyres need to be checked regularly as well since high temperatures can further weaken damaged areas. Remember too that tyre pressures should be adjusted to account for heavier loads if you are packing the car to go away. Consult your vehicle’s handbook for recommended tyre pressures. Keep an eye on the coolant level. Leaks in the cooling system can result in the engine overheating in slow moving traffic if you are unlucky enough to get stuck in a traffic jam.
Bright sunshine can cause accidents as it can be difficult to see clearly, particularly when the sun is low in the sky at dawn and dusk. To help with this problem, it is wise to keep sunglasses to hand in the car, but do not use glasses with the type of lens that darkens automatically in strong sunlight – they change too slowly. Use of the car’s sun visors will also help, remembering that they can usually be unhooked at one end and swivelled round to the driver’s window if the sun is causing a problem from that direction. Bright sunshine also makes it difficult to see road markings if the ground is wet from previous rainfall.
When the inside temperature of the car is too high, consider fuel saving when cooling it down. Running at high speeds with the windows open will cause drag and eat up fuel. Once you get going, shut the windows and use the air vents or air conditioning, and turn off the air conditioning once the car is cool enough. Parking in the shade or use of a windscreen shade whilst parked can help as well. Another point to remember when considering fuel saving is that roof racks and roof boxes should be removed when not in use.
A big problem in rural areas is the fact that verges and hedgerows get overgrown in summer. This greatly decreases visibility on narrow roads and at junctions. Always drive at a sensible speed, making sure that you will be able to stop if you suddenly meet another vehicle or pedestrians or animals on the road. Emerge slowly from a junction until you can see clearly in all directions.
Summer showers can be sudden and heavy. Look out for flooded areas – drive through carefully and check your brakes at the other side. Switch on dipped headlights if visibility is low. If the roads have been dry for a while, a downpour will make the roads very slippery, so cut your speed. Dried mud on the road can also become slippery and hazardous when wet.