During the height of the holiday season road users need to be more aware, of not only increased traffic but driving on roads that are unfamiliar. There are many factors that you should consider when driving in any conditions or circumstances and we have some top safety advice that could make your summer outing or holiday that less stressful. If you are travelling in an area you are not familiar with take your time and plan your route before you set off.

Driving on unfamiliar roads and with increased traffic can cause distractions.  Be mindful of your routes and plan ahead.  Making sure your vehicle is road safe for long journeys is also key and of course keeping your family safe.”

Spencer Lewis, Road Safety Manager

Is your car ready for the summer?

Follow our simple guides for a more comfortable, safer journey this summer.

Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive by parking in the shade or using sunshades on hot days. Allowing a few extra minutes to open doors and windows to circulate warm air or running your air-con will help cool your car down and avoid immediate discomfort from the heat before setting off.

The latest in in-car tech even allows you to pre-set your perfect temperature before setting foot inside. Enjoy the luxury of adjusting up to four-climate controlled zones within your car, meaning you and your passengers are at peak comfort in all weathers.

Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather, especially in standstill traffic, so ensure your coolant is always topped up.

For cars without stop-start technology, it is a good idea to turn off your engine during traffic. Contrary to popular belief, restarting your engine will not burn more fuel than if you had you sat with your engine in ‘idle’ for more than 10 seconds.

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, it is extremely important to check your tyre pressure is at the optimum level, as well as anything you may be towing and replace those that show any signs of cracking in the sidewall or tread grooves.

Driver safety during the summer

Follow our simple guides for a more comfortable, safer journey this summer.

It’s extremely important to keep hydrated when stuck in a long traffic jam under the searing sun. Take plenty of cold water with you before heading out on longer journeys – enough for you and all your passengers. Investing in insulated drinks bottles for the kids is a great way to keep a source of cold water in the car, particularly after a long day of adventure.

If your hay fever is particularly bad, it’s best to get someone else to drive if you can.

Also,

  • Make sure any medication you’re taking doesn't cause drowsiness.
  • Close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car.
  • Clean mats and carpets regularly to get rid of dust.
  • Keep tissues close to hand.
  • Wear sunglasses to block out bright sunlight.
  • Slow down and drop back if you feel you're about to sneeze – at 70mph you’ll lose vision for up to 100m.

On hot, sunny days people flock to beer gardens, barbecues and festivals. As a result, summer drink driving becomes a major problem each year.

Before heading out to a summer social event, consider how you are going to get home. Don’t drink if you’re driving and find another method of transport if you want to drink. This way you can enjoy the hot weather without putting yours and other people’s lives at risk.

Being safe on the road

Follow our simple guides for a more comfortable, safer journey this summer.

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.

Windscreens also 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 – especially when travelling when the sun is low in the sky, typically during your commute.

Drivers have to share the roads with a lot more than just other cars during the summer months. Good weather and longer days attract far more tractors, caravans, horse riders, cyclists, and walkers.

It’s vital to remain alert when driving along country lanes in particular, and to avoid any risks when overtaking that could cause an accident.

Motorcyclists appear more often too, so always look twice to ensure you’re aware of what’s around you.

Keep plenty of distance behind a tractor.

Remember that a tractor may be longer than it appears – there could be a loader on the front.

Before overtaking, make sure you have plenty of room to get past.

Finally, in Britain we always pay the price for little good weather we get. Be prepared to adapt your driving style in the event of any sharp changes in weather, as driving through heavy summer storms comes with a totally different set of challenges.

Remember the Fatal 5

 

  • Don’t drink / drug drive
  • Kill your speed
  • Don’t get careless
  • Belt up
  • Switch it off

Pets in vehicles

Too many people still think it is acceptable to leave their dog in the car during the summer. The RSPCA says that if it’s 22 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees within one hour, which can lead to dangerous and heart-breaking consequences.

Even parking in shade or leaving the windows down does not make the car a safe place for a dog in summer. So, unless you can take your dog with you wherever you go, leave it safely at home.

For more advice visit the RSPCA's summer safety advice (opens in a new window/tab)