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Driving in the summer - Things to check

By being prepared you can reduce the risk of your summer driving going wrong. By covering the following points you'll be well on your way to happy summer driving;

  • Tyres - Check to make sure your treads are legal and warn evenly. Make sure you don't have any cracks or nails in them. Check your handbook and make sure you're tyres are correctly inflated. When the weather is hot, so are your tyres, and this can cause weak parts of the tyre to fail, especially if your tyres are over/under inflated.
  • Fluids - Take a peek under the bonnet and check that everything is topped up to the correct levels, consult your handbook to find out what the correct levels are. Check/top up the brake, clutch, and power stearing fluids, but ensure that you use the correct fluids to top up each. If your unsure, take it to a garage. Keeping your radiator topped up is very important, as if you don't your car will overheat. Carry round some spare water in the boot just incase.
  • Visibility - Ensure that your windows are clean, especially your windscreen and mirrors. Add screen wash to your windscreen washer bottle, this will help clear and dead insects or smears from your window. Clean your wiper blades, and replace damaged or warn ones. Keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to reduce glare in sunny conditions.
  • Service your vehicle - By having your car serviced and MOT up to date (having a valid MOT is a legal requirement) you will significantly reduce the chances of breaking down.
  • Heat - If you're driving in the summer, especially if it's a long journey, one of the biggest factors will be the heat. Even just the smallest amount of sunshine will quickly heat up your car. Too much heat can dehydrate you, and make you tired; a big cause of accidents on the UK's roads. Park your car in the shade and keep some water in the boot incase you get thirsty.
  • Hayfever - Hayfever sufferers hate the summer, and if they're driving, things can become even more difficult. According to the AA if you sneeze while driving at 70mph, you can lose your vision for up to 100m. So if you sneeze 8 times in a row, you're driving without being able to see for almost half a mile. Ensure you've taken your medication, and make sure it's non-drowsy.

Things to look out for

The summer can bring hazards that you wouldn't normally need to look out for. Be aware and indeed expect to see the following on Britain's roads during the summer months;
  • Fire - As the days get hotter, the grass gets dryer. All it takes is for 1 cigarette to be discarded and in no time you've got a large fire. Smoke which drifts onto a major road can significantly reduce visibility, and if there's a lot of it, drifting smoke can disorientate you. Take care while driving though smoke, if you cant see through it, you don't know what's on the other side so slow down.
  • Loose Chippings - It's not done to ruin your summer drive, it's done because it's safer, and because during the school summer holidays the roads are much quieter. Road works! Keep your distance from other vehicles and watch your speed. A decent sized piece of gravel can do some serious damage to your car.
  • Sudden Rain - If there's one thing certain during the British summer, it's rain. A quick and unexpected burst of rain can cause havoc on the roads. This will quickly lift any dried mud from the road. Dried mud will also cause blockages to the drainage systems, so you can expect there to be a significant amount of localized flooding; if you hit a large puddle at speed it can wreck your car and push you off the road.
  • Tractors - and other slow moving farm vehicles are ever present on Britain's roads during the summer months. They're big, and slow, and encourage drives to overtake dangerously, especially on bendy country roads - be careful.


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