Essential Summer Motoring Tips
After what has been, for many people, a grim and depressing 2020/21, the UK has finally been graced with some good weather and if us Brits know how to do anything in this life, it’s how to embrace the elusive sunshine!
With the heat comes the increase in social activity as we actively seek out ways to enjoy the warmer weather so read on to find out how you can do just that whilst staying safe (and legal) on the roads. Adhering to many of these tips will help you avoid accidents and potential charges of careless and/or dangerous driving which I am sure every motorist wants to avoid.
The heat can often cause agitation, particularly when driving in a warm car and agitation can sometimes lead to careless mistakes or errors in judgement. When faced with a hot day and potentially long journey, try and cool the car interior before beginning your journey. Opening the doors and windows can help the stored up hot air escape or using the air con if you have it can actively reduce the temperature inside your vehicle. Using sun shields overnight to deflect the sun’s heat can also help maintain a cooler temperature before driving.
Maintain Your Fluids
Car engines can get extremely hot in warm weather so always make sure your coolant is topped up. An overheated engine can cause damage and lead to burning more fuel than necessary. This is all part of ensuring that your vehicle is roadworthy in the eyes of the law as driving a vehicle that is not up to par could land you in hot water with the police.
It’s not just your motor that needs fluids! When driving in hot weather it is easy to become dehydrated which can lead to dizziness, nausea, lack of concentration and fatigue- none of which are ideal when driving. Again, if an accident occurs because you’ve experienced any symptoms of dehydration then you could face driving-related charges. Always make sure you have bottles of water at the ready!
Hay Fever and other illnesses
Summer-related allergies are an absolute nightmare for anyone who suffers with them and any other conditions you deal with may impair your ability to drive. Hay fever for example can cause a variety of symptoms such as blurred vision. If you have any other conditions that require medication then always be mindful of any negative side effects and take the medication as directed by a medical professional. This can help avoid a situation where you could be charged with driving whilst unfit through drugs or even (despite the medication being legal), drug driving- both of which carry a minimum disqualification from driving of 12 months.
Don’t Drive to the Beer Garden
It’s common knowledge that cases of drink driving increase during the summer months but when embracing the sunshine you should always try to think ahead and do so responsibly. Even if you plan on “just one drink”, it is a good idea to make alternative travel arrangements even if it’s just as a backup. One drink can often lead to 2 and then to 3 and if your vehicle is nearby and your judgement is impaired by alcohol, its easier to make the mistake of driving home.
Impaired vision, for whatever reason, is responsible for a significant portion of accidents every year and glare caused by the sun is a huge distraction and can occur suddenly. Keep your windscreen wipers in good shape and use sunglasses and/or visors to help keep the sun out of your eyes.
The sun and temperature also seems to bake dirt onto your windscreen so keep it clean and use plenty of screenwash to keep your view optimised.
Keeping your wheels/tyres in good condition is extremely important and we speak to many motorists who have been charged with offences relating to tyre tread. You should also regularly check the tyre pressure as blowouts and punctures can be more common in hot weather. If tyres have deteriorated significantly then you could face charges of driving a vehicle whilst in a dangerous condition which is an extremely serious offence.
Ultimately, the warmer weather is a glorious and welcome change from the doom and gloom we’ve become accustomed to recently but try not to get carried away in the excitement to the point you neglect some of these tips to not only help you stay safe, but also keep you out of trouble with the police.