The recent long spell of very sunny, hot weather, is not what we’re used to. It’s caused problems in rail travel, air travel and has made everyday tasks all the harder. People have been unable to sleep well, causing irritability and problems with concentration, which can have an effect on the way some drivers behave. Naturally, the sunny weather makes us want to get out and about, but as always it’s best to be fully prepared. So, to help minimise the risk, let’s have a look at how to best cope in these unusual conditions.
Make sure your car is up to the job, as hot, sunny weather will cause all sorts of problems if you haven’t prepared your car properly.
Check and adjust your tyre pressures, not forgetting the spare, when they are cold, before you start your journey, as warm tyres will give an inaccurate pressure reading. Check your tyre condition and tread depth, making sure you have at least 2mm of depth.
The word “coolant” speaks for itself, so check your level of coolant before you drive away. The hot conditions will be very unforgiving if your coolant is not up to scratch.
Most cars have air conditioning these days, so use it! It will make a tremendous difference to your comfort, mood and safety. If your air con is not working properly, you can get your system checked and recharged at places like Kwik Fit quite cheaply. It’s well worth it.
Give your windscreen a clean before you start your journey and during breaks, as there are more insects in hot weather to get splattered on it. Make sure your washers are working well and that your washer reservoir is topped up with the appropriate solution. If your wipers have not been used for a while in the dry weather, make sure that they are in good condition and give a sharp clean. Keep your windscreen free of water and grease marks to help cut down the glare.
OK, so you’ve checked your car and all is well, so the journey can begin, but what can Mother Nature throw at you during your journey in these hot weather conditions?
Your concentration can be badly affected by driving for long periods with the sun in your eyes as it can become distracting and exhausting. Invest in a good pair of polarised sunglasses, which will reduce the glare considerably, as well as helping you to look cool. Use your sun visor where possible. If the roads become wet, reflected glare is really bad news, so reduce your speed and keep your distance.
To cope with the heat in the car, use your air con, wear light clothes, as you can always get changed when you arrive if you need to. Use the motorway service stations for regular breaks, as they have everything you’ll need to keep refreshed. If you feel sleepy, have some shut eye. Watch out for sudden rain showers as these can make the road slippery. Slow down and keep your distance.
During long, hot spells, tarmac road surfaces can become soft. Take extra care when braking and cornering.
If you follow these basic tips, you will have a safe journey, but listen to travel info on your radio and try to avoid any hotspots, which will reduce stress and give you a nicer trip.