Summer Driving Tips

It is easier to drive in the summer, right? You don’t have to deal with icy roads or snow, there is usually less rain, and you are more concerned with getting into a car that is too hot because of the sun than you are with clearing the windscreen so that you can see out. But summer driving presents its own challenges and issues.

This is primarily because we usually drive longer distances in the summer. This can be anything from day trips to weekends away to simply going out for an afternoon drive. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and enjoy your summer drives as much as possible.

Preparing Your Car

You should do a few simple checks on your car before you set off on any long drive, whether in the summer or at any other time of the year.

This includes checking your tyres to make sure they still have a sufficient level of tread and that they are not damaged. You should also check that they are inflated to the correct pressure. If you run your tyres at a lower pressure during the winter months it is advisable to bring them up to summer driving levels so that your car is as fuel efficient as possible. And when checking your tyres make sure you check the spare tyre as well.

Next check your fluid levels. In particular check the windscreen washer fluid level, but also do a quick check on your oil and coolant levels. If your car is serviced regularly these should be okay, but it is a good idea to check them periodically, particularly before setting of on a long journey.

Other Preparation

A key factor in an enjoyable summer driving trip is timing. Wherever you are going, if you get the timing wrong your drive can quickly turn into a horrible chore. The primary thing to consider is traffic so try to anticipate when and where you are likely to encounter traffic, and plan your journey around this. You could set off earlier in the morning, for example, or chose a quieter day of the week. Make sure you factor in road works too.

Once your journey is planned and you know when you will be setting off you have to get the car packed. Things like tissues, wet wipes, snacks and games (if you have children) are all essential. Bring your phone charger as well.

On The Road

It is important to take regular breaks when driving long distances so that you don’t become fatigued. Stop at points of interest, get a coffee, or simply pull over to stretch your legs.

You should also be aware of the unique hazards that summer driving presents. You will encounter more pedestrians and cyclists on the road, including in country areas. Road surfaces can also be surprisingly slippery, particularly when there is rain after a long dry period. Plus slow moving vehicles are more common, from leisurely Sunday drivers to farm machinery.

Finally, think about fuel economy. We’ve already mentioned tyre pressures but there are a number of other things that can make your journey more expensive. Driving with the windows open is one example, or putting something on the roof racks.

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