Whether you’re driving on the daily commute, driving at work or heading on a summer holiday, driving in warm temperatures has its challenges. With summer officially underway in the Northern Hemisphere and a heatwave currently gripping the UK, now is the time to take steps to ensure those summer trips go smoothly.
“A little bit of planning goes a long way when it comes to driving in summer”, said Ed Dubens, eDriving’s Executive Vice President of Fleet. “From making some basic vehicle checks to ensuring you have sunglasses in your vehicle, there’s plenty that all drivers can do to ensure that every summer trip is a safe one.”
Here are our top tips for safe driving this summer season.
Summer vehicle checks
- Tires: existing damage and weak spots can be made worse by high temperatures so look for damage such as bulges, cracks and splits. For tires at the wrong pressure, higher temperatures can increase the risk of a blowout so be sure to check pressures before traveling. The correct pressure should be listed on the driver’s door pillar, doorframe or in your owner’s manual. Visit NHTSA’s Tires page for help checking tires
- Engine coolant: this is particularly crucial in summer. The level can be checked in the coolant reservoir under the hood. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions
- Windshield and wash wipe: keep the windshield clean and wash wipe topped up to help reduce sun glare
Summer vehicle equipment
- Pack a summer ‘breakdown kit’ that includes a flashlight, charged cell phone, jumper cables, first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, emergency flares, non-perishable food and plenty of water– plus any additional emergency items required by law in your country/ state
- Carry sunglasses to help reduce sun glare
Preparing for safe summer travel
- Consider the amount of alcohol you consume the night before you drive and remember you can still be over the limit in the morning
- High temperatures can increase sleepiness so avoid driving if you feel fatigued
- Have a bottle of water or refreshing drink before you begin driving
- If you are taking medication for hayfever, check whether it causes drowsiness – if it does, don’t drive
Driving safely during summer trips
- Watch out for other road users: lots of families take to the roads during summer months and some drivers may not be familiar with the roads they are on. Be prepared for them stopping or turning unexpectedly while trying to find their way
- There are more motorcycles and bicycles on the roads in summer and these vulnerable road users can be more difficult to see. Look out for bikes, particularly at intersections/ junctions and on rural roads
- More children play out during the daytime in the summer holidays – look out for children playing close to roads or cycling/ scooting at the roadside. Be prepared for them to enter the road unexpectedly
- Take rest breaks from driving: at least 15 minutes for every two hours of driving; more frequently if you feel tired. Avoid driving during high-risk times for sleep-related collisions: 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- High summer temperatures can make you feel more tired than usual so look out for fatigue warning signs such as yawning, heavy eyes and ‘zoning out’
- If you suffer from hayfever close windows and air vents to help prevent pollen grains entering the car
See eDriving’s Best Practice Guides for tips on driving in many other driving situations.