High temperatures and congestion on the roads can make driving in the summer a stressful experience. Here are our top ten tips for drivers to help you stay stress-free behind the wheel:

1. Plan your journey

Plan your route in advance and don’t forget to include breaks if you’re taking a long journey. Check traffic and weather conditions before you go so you’re prepared for what is ahead and can adjust your route if necessary.

If you’re planning to drive abroad, make sure you’re fully aware of the driving laws in the country you are travelling to.

2. Think about your choice of clothing

As the interior of your car can get very warm, make sure you wear clothes that will keep you as cool as possible.

According to a study by Confused.com, 27% of men and 39% of women have driven in flip flops.¹ While it is not against the law to wear inappropriate footwear behind the wheel, loose fitting sandals, flip flops and bare feet will affect your ability to control the pedals so it might be a good idea to bring another pair of shoes that you can change into for driving.

3. Prevent drowsiness

The warm weather is more likely to make you feel drowsy, so keep a bottle of water in your car to stay hydrated and alert.

Hay fever symptoms and medication can impair your driving ability so it’s crucial that you read the information leaflet of any remedy you take before you drive.

 

[symple_box color=”blue” text_align=”left” width=”100%” float=”none”] Did you know…
If you sneeze while driving at 70mph, you lose your vision for up to 100m.²
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You may want to go for medication that doesn’t cause drowsiness, and close windows and vents to prevent pollen from entering your car.

Make sure you’re well-rested before setting off on a long journey and take a break if you feel tired. Find out more about driving when tired.

4. Prevent your vehicle interior from overheating

The interior of your vehicle can get very hot in the summer, especially if the seats are leather or plastic. Keep your vehicle well-ventilated and try to park in a shady spot to prevent both the interior and engine of your car overheating.

5. Be careful on slippery road surfaces

In high temperatures, road surfaces can become soft. If it rains after a dry spell it may become slippery.³ These conditions may affect your steering and braking so always make sure you leave a big enough gap between you and the vehicle in front.⁴

6. Reduce sun glare

Wearing sunglasses and using the sun visor in your car can prevent sunlight from dazzling you on the road. If this doesn’t help, you may need to slow down or pull over when it is safe to do so.⁵

direct sun when driving on the motorway

7. Tyre maintenance

High temperatures exacerbate damage to the rubber on tyres so make sure you check tyre condition and pressures before you drive. Increase your tyre pressures if you will be carrying extra passengers or heavy luggage; you can refer to your vehicle’s handbook to find out how to do this.

8. Car maintenance

Car engines are more prone to overheating in the summer so make sure you regularly inspect the coolant level. Also check your engine oil and windscreen washer fluid and top up if necessary.

Keep your windscreen clean as this will prevent sun glare and improve visibility.

Check out this handy video guide to preparing your car for summer driving:

 

9. Save fuel

Running the air con increases fuel consumption, especially on short journeys so turn it down or off completely once your car has cooled down. Remember not to open windows and doors while the air con is on. If you have to carry luggage on the roof, a roof box will help to reduce drag.⁶

10. Be cautious of road rage

Warm weather and congestion on the roads increases the likelihood of road rage.⁷ If you feel stressed while driving, take deep breaths and have a break if you need to.

Read our guide to coping with aggression from other drivers.

 


Sources:

[1] http://www.confused.com/press/releases/driving-in-high-heels
[2] [6] http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/seasonal/summer_advice.html
[3] [5] https://www.gov.uk/driving-adverse-weather-conditions-226-to-237/hot-weather-237
[4] https://www.gov.uk/general-rules-all-drivers-riders-103-to-158/control-of-the-vehicle-117-to-126
[7] http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/ingear/cars/article1297631.ece

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