As the summer officially arrives (although it feels like it’s already here, or at least it was last week!) you might be tempted to jump in your car and go on a road trip, whether that’s just to the countryside for a day trip or perhaps you’re heading down to the English coast for a holiday.
Either way, it’s important that you’re prepared and that your car is safe to go, as summer conditions are very different to driving in snow and ice in the winter.
As well as the glare, you’ve also got high temperatures to contend with which can make your car behave differently, you’ll be wearing different attire which will mean that you’ll need to be clued up on the laws (e.g. driving in flip flops/driving in sunglasses etc) and roads are often busier.
Follow our top tips to stay safe on the road this summer:
Simple car checks before you set off:
What to check on your car before driving in the summer?
1. Make sure your coolant is topped up
Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather, especially in standstill traffic. Coolant or antifreeze not only protects your engine from extreme cold temperatures during the winter months, its high boiling point also removes excessive heat from the engine which is essential on a hot day. Ensure your coolant is always topped up and turn off your engine during traffic, which will also help save fuel.
2. Refill your windscreen wash
Windscreens can get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Plenty of windscreen washer fluid will help you maintain a clear view in the sun.
3. Check your tyres
Tyre blowouts are a more common occurrence in hotter weather. According to the AA, tyres with existing damage that are under inflated will become even more aggravated in higher temperatures, which increases the likelihood of blowouts and punctures.
Before setting off, check your cars tyre condition and pressures, as well as anything you might be towing. You can also read our guide on how to change a tyre, could prove very handy!
4. Check your oil levels
Oil is the lifeblood of your engine, providing lubrication for the moving parts inside the engine while also cooling and cleaning these parts so that your car continues to run smoothly. Without oil, your engine would very quickly seize up, causing you not only to break down but be faced with a hefty repair bill for replacement parts.
5. Make sure all lights are working
Inside and outside of the car. Long car journeys often mean driving while dark, so it’s important to ensure that not only your headlamps are working but cabin lights too – you don’t want to get lost and not be able to read the map because it’s too dark!
6. Check the air con
OK so it’s not the end of the world if your air con isn’t working but it will make for a much tougher journey if it isn’t. It takes 2 seconds to do a quick check of this before you set off as it’s not uncommon for the system to develop a fault if it hasn’t been used for 12 months!
Once you’ve done the necessary car checks and you’re ready to go, here are some general considerations to take into account that not many people think about.
Tips for driving in the Summer
1. Start with a cool car
Always park your car in the shade (if possible) before you set off on a long car journey, you don’t want to start off hot, bothered and in a fluster as it won’t bode well for the rest of your journey.
2. Take supplies
Make sure you take plenty of fluids/water in the car with you to stay hydrated and also some food supplies. You never know when you’re going to get stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway and there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a car on a hot day with nothing to drink!
3. Consider allergy medication
This is something that most drivers overlook. Some over the counter drugs (including hay fever tablets) are covered by the same laws as illegal drugs when it comes to driving. Make sure you check the literature that comes with the drugs before getting behind the wheel – look out for side-effects including drowsiness, blurred vision, nausea etc.
If you are going to drive, take the non-drowsy versions of any hay fever remedies.
4. Avoid sun glare
Impaired vision from the sun is a common cause of accidents during the summer. Replace worn windscreen wipers to help keep your windscreen clean, and use sunglasses and overhead sun visors to help block out the sun from your eyes.
5. Make sure you have some decent tunes!
This could possibly be the most important thing on the list!! While the other points are all quite serious, you’re going on a trip which you should be excited about so make sure you have some decent music lined up and enjoy yourself!!
We hope these tips have helped, let us know if there’s anything we’ve missed off the list that you think may be useful to share, and if you are thinking of getting a new car for the summer, why not sell your car to Jack! All you have to do is enter your reg number and we’ll get back to you with a no obligation offer!