When you think of difficult driving conditions, your mind immediately turns to the bad weather of winter. Or maybe of trying to control your car when the roads are treacherous and wet. But what a lot of new drivers don’t appreciate is, driving can also be pretty tough in high summer. The weather of the last few days, where temperatures have reached the low 30°Cs in some areas, has reminded all us seasoned drivers that although having your own car is way preferable to taking the bus in this weather, it’s not without its challenges.
So, what do you need to know to ensure that you keep on driving safely as the mercury rises?
7 Things to Remember for Safe Summer Driving
1. Try to cool your car before you set out
Whether it’s sitting in an exam hall, or just trying to enjoy lunch out with friends, we all know how hard it is to concentrate when you’re too hot. And it’s ultra-important that you keep you mind on the job when you’re behind the wheel. So, regardless of whether you’re getting ready for a driving lesson with your mum, or you’ve already passed your test and are heading out to work, try to take time to cool your car before you leave. Put on your air con or open your boot and windows to let the air circulate before you’re ready for the off.
2. Stay hydrated
OK, sure, no one likes needing a pee halfway through a journey. But think of this. Our brains are 80% water. When you don’t drink enough water, your brain will literally shrink. That’s why dehydration inevitably causes headaches and concentration difficulties – among other symptoms. So, have a drink of water before you set out, and carry a bottle of cold water in the car.
3. Check your car’s coolant
Your car needs fluids just as much as you do. Coolant doesn’t just stop the water in your vehicle from freezing in winter, but raises its boiling point of your car’s fluids to reduce the threat of your engine overheating. Driving without adequate fluid can lead the piston to weld itself to the cylinder. Which basically means that you’re going to be spending a lot of money getting your engine replaced.
4. Check your tyres
When the roads are hot, tyres in poor condition are more likely to blow. And a tyre blowout is a really scary thing to handle, even for the most experienced drivers. So, check your car tyre pressure before setting out.
5. Maintain your wipers
With all the flying dust and squashed bugs of summer, your windscreen can get really dirty. It’s important that your windscreen washer is always topped up – even if just with water. And that your wipers are in good condition to avoid a streaked, glare-prone windscreen.
6. Beware of summer storms
And following on from the above, good wipers are important for another reason. In the UK, periods of hot weather are inevitably followed by thunderstorms. Heavy rain on hot dry roads can make for perilous driving conditions. So, drop your speed, avoid puddles, and take it steady through any standing water.
7. Be aware of allergies – and associated medication
If you suffer from hay fever, you don’t need us to tell you how miserable this time of year can be. But have you thought of the implications when driving? Sneezing, wheezing, and watery eyes aren’t the best conditions for driving. And if your medication makes you the smallest bit drowsy, don’t get behind the wheel.
With the windows down and the breeze in your hair, summer driving can be one of life’s simple joys. But whatever the time of year, safety has to be your number one priority when driving. So, think ahead and take precautions before you begin your journey.
Are you looking to learn to drive in the Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and Sutton Coldfield areas? Find out how DGN can help.