With the Met office forecasting a one-in-four chance that this summer could be the warmest ever in the UK, it is definitely a good idea to take extra precautions when driving on the road. Here are some top tips for sitting behind the wheel in hot and dry weather conditions:
Topping up fluids
One of the biggest reasons for vehicle breakdowns in summer is due to the car engine overheating. You can help to prevent this by ensuring that engine oil is topped up as necessary; not only will it help your engine to work better, it will also help to keep it cool. Of course, you should check engine coolant levels as well before taking off.
In hot and dry conditions, dust and dead insects blown onto your windscreen can hamper visibility. Therefore, make sure you have sufficient windscreen washer to keep it crystal clear.
Another tip is to make sure you have enough fuel for the journey. If you plan to use the air-conditioning inside your car, your fuel consumption could be as much as 20 per cent higher.
Wellbeing of passengers
You need to keep the car well ventilated when driving in the hot weather. The inside of a car can heat up very quickly, which may lead to drowsiness of the driver and any passengers. You should have the windows opened for fresh air; or alternatively, use air-conditioning. However, do not have the air-conditioning on and windows down at the same time, as it reduces the effectiveness of the air-conditioner.
It is also sensible to bring some water with you to avoid dehydration, as there is always a chance that you get stuck in traffic longer than anticipated. You can even bring wet wipes to keep everyone refreshed in the car as well.
Don’t leave a child or a pet in a parked car. Every year, there are horror stories around the globe about children who die in overheated cars.
Take extra care with steering and braking when driving on a hot day, as road surfaces may melt due to the intense heat.
Wear sunglasses to ensure you manage the glare from the sun. If it gets too bright to see, slow down.
Monitor the temperature gauge regularly so you are aware of whether your car is becoming too hot.
Make sure your tyres are properly inflated by checking the tyre pressure. If your tyres are underinflated, your engine will have to work harder to move the vehicle along.
Finally, when parking, try to find a spot in the shade and use sun visors to cover the windscreen. This will help to keep your vehicle cooler while you are away from the car.