As a Brit, you would have been forgiven a before this year at having scoffed at needing tip for driving in hot weather but 2018 has been a record-breaking year in terms of our weather. Temperatures have regularly exceeded 30 degrees across the nation and for an extended duration. This has not been a flash in the pan, singular fluke of a nice day. No, this has been, what the tabloids threaten us with year-in, year-out, a genuine heat wave.
As with any “extreme” weather in this country, the heatwave threw the country into complete disarray and panic. Many have been stockpiling water, refusing to use hose pipes and even arguing that it has been to too hot to attend work (yeah, nice try). As a London resident, I have regularly found myself in temperatures on the tube in the late 30’s which, admittedly has quite often been excruciating but we suspect some motorists out there are having their own fair share of problems.
As the temperatures soar so can the possibility of tempers flaring. The heat often makes usually pleasant journeys unbearable with the most minor of infractions resulting in outbursts of unadulterated road rage.
With the UK surprising us all this year, don’t get caught out by the unexpected temperatures and use our top tips for driving in hot weather to stay cool this summer.
- Stay Hydrated
The first on the list is the obvious one! Being dehydrated can lower our concentration and make us feel irritated, unwell and fatigued. You should avoid caffeinated drinks as whilst they may keep you awake they are diuretics which cause your body to lose water. You should drive with spare water for you, your passengers and any pets that may be on board.
Particularly important for long trips or if your car hasn’t been serviced in the last 6 months. Prevent that uncomfortable breakdown by having it looked over by a professional so you can be confident your car is in good shape for the journey ahead.
- Battery Check
Warm weather puts additional strain on your car’s battery. Most batteries are maintenance-free in the modern-day vehicle but if your battery still has caps then check the level and top up as necessary. For all types of battery, clean any corrosion from the terminals, secure all connections and assure that the battery is firmly mounted and safe from vibration.
- Check your Windscreen
During the summer months, the sun will stay on the horizon for longer meaning that it’s more difficult to see in both the early morning and evening. A clean windscreen is essential as any dirt or scratches will diffract light and obscure your vision.
- Emergency Kit
Make sure you have a kit that is well stocked ready in the car. The kit should include water, non-perishable food, jumper cables if you have an older vehicle, a torch, batteries, a road warning triangle, basic hand tools and a first aid kit.
- Plan Ahead
This is a good tip all year round but especially important in extreme weather. Make sure your phone is fully charged or bring an in-car charger and try to carry cash for any emergencies (many still operate a cash-only policy in more rural areas). If using a sat-nav or a mobile device for navigation, make sure it is pre-programmed with the exact journey so that it does not distract you whilst driving.
- Protect Yourself
Sunglasses, extra sunscreen and a hat for if you need to spend time out of the car. You don’t want to risk burning whilst driving or having a touch of sun stroke.
- Check your Tires
Under-inflated tyres will flex more which causes a build-up of heat. If conditions are already hot, under-inflation will mean tires are more likely to fail. Do not forget to have a spare and ensure you have the necessary tools to change the tire if necessary.
- Distraction for children
As endearing as they are, nobody wants to face a frustrated and irritated child during a long journey particularly in hot weather. If you have children, try to take something along with you that can keep them cool and occupied during the journey. Cold drinks, handheld fans or games can be a great idea to keep them happy in the back provided they don’t result in a distraction to you (if your children are overly competitive and prone to arguing over games, it may not be a good idea to help trigger world war 3 in the back of your car so be mindful of the games/distractions you bring along.