Driving safely in summertime
The warmer months can still pose a threat to safety
- The interior temperature inside a car left in full sunshie can exceed 50OC
- When the temperature exceeds 25OC a human being doing moderate excerise can lose 2.5 litres of fluid an hour
- Fluid loss equating to just 5% of one's bodyweight will lead to dehydration at dangerous levels, levels that impair judgement and decision-making
- Tarmac that has started to melt in the sun will have similar grip characteristics to a wet surface
- Long summer evenings encourage more non vehicle users to use the roads for leisure purposes
- Traffic levels in popular tourist spots can treble in the summer months
- If you are going on a journey of more than an hour, we suggest you always take a litre of fluid, preferably one that will not break down and go off in the heat . If you dehydrate, brain function can quickly be compromised and, along with it, the ability to make the correct decisions in an emergency situation.
- If a vehicle has been left parked in the sun, open the windows and doors before driving off, to allow the internal temperature to drop. If you rely on the air con alone to do this it will increase your fuel consumption considerably.
- Cleaning the inside of the windscreen on a weekly basis is a good idea - it improves vision in strong sunlight. A pair of sunglasses is another useful item
- In the UK, a prolonged period of dry weather can often be followed by a thunder storm so be prepared for a sudden downpour of rain and roads that are initially very slippery. Consider how much longer you might need to stop, and moderate your speed and following distances accordingly. Having your lights on will improve your visibiltiy to other road users as well
-Spilt diesel encapsulated in the road surface will be quickly released by sudden rain after a dry spell and offers very little grip. Spots like roundabouts, junctions and at the exits to filling stations require extra care
- Tyres can be more puncture-prone in hot weather. Inflation pressures should be as stated in the vehicle handbook - it's best to check in the early morning when the tyres are cold to get an accurate readng
- It can be difficult to sleep in hot weather - if you think you might have had insufficient sleep and need to drive, consider taking more breaks than you might normally. Also be aware of warning signs, such as yawning or making late decisions
- Effcient air conditioning can be crucial safety aid, as it not only helps keep the driver cool and comfortable but ablso reduces fluid loss. Air conditioning systems will work more efficiently if they have been used periodically throughout the year - 10 minutes a week in the winter will help a lot come summertime
- There are obviously going to be more tourist around in summer time. They may be unfamiliar not only with their route but also with our rules and regulations, so it's good to practice to make allowances for this. Vehicle rental company logos on the rear windscreen are useful clues.
- Summer will inevitably bring out the caravans. Remember that they are subject to lower speed limits on some roads, so be patient and only plan an overtaking manoeuvre when you are 100% sure that have space to complete it safely
Sources Water Well Point 2009 AA DriveTech 2009