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We’re currently experiencing high temperatures across the UK, and whilst most drivers won’t be keen to be stuck in their cars for long in the heat, if you do have to make necessary car journeys, it’s well worth considering how the heat could affect them.
High temperatures and busy holiday routes can put extra demands on drivers, so planning for potential driving hazards before you set off on your journey will help avoid accidents and ensure that you and your passengers stay safe.
Trusted Dealers has listed below some tips on how to handle summer hazards behind the wheel.
Key fobs – don’t leave your keys in your pocket on a trip to the beach – the salt in sea water than ruin electric circuits and render your key fob useless, so it’s important to keep them safe and dry at all times.
Tyres – higher temperatures can aggravate any existing tyre damage you may have, and under inflation only adds to the problem, causing further friction and the potential for punctures and blow-outs. Make sure your tyres are well inflated and checked regularly, and if you’re carry heavy luggage of additional passengers, adjust your inflation readings according to your handbook.
Cooling systems – high heat can affect cooling systems and problems such as low coolant levels, leaking hoses and broken electric cooling fans can all cause your car to overheat. Check the coolant reservoir regularly – wet or white staining on the coolant hose could hint there is a problem. Check the fan by running the car at normal temperatures and allowing the engine to be idle for 5-10 minutes, to enable the cooling fan to cut in automatically. If it fails to do so, there’s a problem.
Save fuel – If you’re planning on a few longer journeys this summer, investing in a roof box could save you money as it will reduce drag. If you’re remaining in one place when you get to your destination, take the roof box off when you get there to save fuel on day trips.
Keep windows closed and reduce air conditioning – Open windows can cause extra drag, particularly on motorways. If you have air conditioning, turn it on once the windows are shut, and allow the car to cool down. You can then either turn the system off or leave it on a low setting to maintain maximum fuel levels. Do not open your windows when cooling the car down, it will prevent the air-conditioning from working effectively.
Windscreen shades – are a good idea if you have small children travelling with you in the car. Not only will they shield the kids from the sun, you can also use them to keep your car cool whilst stationery.
Take regular breaks – hot weather can make us lethargic so it’s even more important to take regular breaks on car journeys in the heat. A 20 minute break is recommended every 2-3 hours, with frequent short stops proven to be much more effective than one long ones. If you’re still feeling drowsy, drink strong coffee or caffeine-infused drinks to help remain alert.
Hayfever – hayfever is worse for sufferers during the summer months avoid taking medication which could make your drowsy behind the wheel. Invest in a cabin pollen filter, keep windows and air vents closed and a supply of tissues to hand. If you think you’re about to sneeze, slow down, a sneeze at 70mph can make you lose your vision for as much as 100 metres.
Fire – can become a potential hazard in high temperatures when embankments and verges can become very dry and more prone to ignition. A smouldering cigarette butt can be all it takes for roadside grass to ignite causing mile upon mile of blackened motorway verges, and endangering nearby wildlife. Obvious dangers from smoke are reduced visibility for motorists and congested roads.
Sun Glare – can cause accidents, particularly at dawn or dusk when the sun is lying low. Keep a pair of sunglasses handy in your car and clean your windscreens regularly, inside and out to reduce the risk of impaired vision.