Top six summer driving tips

Top 6 summer driving tips

This time of year, you might find yourself spending a little more time on the road, especially if a road trip is part of your summertime agenda. Be warned - all those extra miles and high temperatures can really take a toll on vehicle performance and fuel economy if you’re not careful. To stay safe behind the wheel and save some money in the process, follow these six helpful tips.

Check tyres early and often

Get in the habit of checking tyre tread and pressure before you set off for a long journey. The fact that driving on flat or dangerously over-inflated tyres could cost you three points on your licence along with £2,500 in fines should spur you into action.

Ensuring your tyres are properly inflated will protect you from a blowout - truly the last thing you want while heading off on holiday. Just in case of an emergency, keep a quality spare tyre in the boot. 

You could also face hefty fines for driving on worn down tyres. Regularly measure tread depth and compare numbers to the legal minimum of 1.6 millimetres across the central three-quarters of the tyre all the way around the circumference. This is absolutely vital, as hot asphalt can aggravate pre-existing damage on your tyres.

Check coolant levels

High temperatures can worsen problems in your car’s cooling system, as well. Regularly top up coolant reservoir levels to keep your engine from overheating and causing extensive damage. Additionally, check the fan to make sure it’s working properly, too. If your fan doesn’t kick in automatically, you may need to take it into a professional mechanic for repairs.

Adjust to the heat

Don’t be tempted to roll down all your windows to keep cool - this will increase drag on your car, along with fuel consumption. Similarly, limit your use of air conditioning. Once the interior climate has reached a comfortable level, turn the air con off, otherwise you risk reducing fuel efficiency.To keep your car cool, use a windscreen shade while you’re out, as it will reflect heat and direct sunlight.

Minimise drag

Along with open windows, roof racks increase drag and will ultimately make you burn through fuel a lot faster. To minimise the effects, use a roof box, which is arguably the most streamlined way to store luggage atop your vehicle. If possible, limit the amount of luggage you bring along for the journey - heavy loads will turn your car into a gas-guzzler and put extra strain on your tyres.

Reduce glare

Sunny, summer days are glorious, but they can wreak havoc on your ability to see the road. To safeguard your vision, wear sunglasses during daylight hours and clean the windscreen frequently to reduce smears.

Fight fatigue

Pay attention to how you’re feeling behind the wheel. In warm temperatures, fatigue is common. Stay alert and sharp by taking frequent breaks every one to two hours, depending on your energy level. Although regular pit stops will slow your journey down a little, safeguarding your driving ability and reaction time is important - it’s the best way to make it to your holiday destination safe and sound.

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Published: 15th July 2013 (RB)