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Driving in hot weather. 17/07/14

Now that we are having a particularly hot spell of weather, it is important to be properly prepared for your journey.

Hot weather can not only affect your vehicle and the road conditions, but can also take its toll on you and your passengers.

Prepare your car

  • Check that your car coolant is at the correct level to avoid your engine overheating

  • Keep a bottle of water in your vehicle, in case you have to top up your coolant

  • Check the temperature gauge of your vehicle frequently, especially in congested traffic

  • If your vehicle is beginning to overheat, find a safe place to stop and let it cool down for at least 30 minutes

  • If you have to top up your coolant, wait for at least half an hour before adding more coolant as the coolant may be hot enough to scald exposed skin

  • Your cooling system relies on air flow through the radiator in order to function, so if you are stationary for any length of time it is advisable to turn off the engine to avoid overheating

  • Opening windows and turning on your car heater should help dissipate excess heat from an overheating engine

  • If you are stuck in traffic, be aware that air conditioning systems can increase your fuel consumption by up to 20%

  • Check that your oil is topped up. Oil not only lubricates your engine but also helps keep your engine cool

How it can affect your driving

  • Road surfaces may soften in the heat, and following dry periods may also become slippery if it rains. So extra care should be taken when steering or braking

  • Its possible you may become dazzled in sunny weather, if this happens you should slow down or stop if necessary when it is safe to do so

Look after yourself and your passengers

  • Making a long journey in a hot vehicle can make you both tired and irritable, it is advisable to take more rest breaks than you would normally

  • Ensure you have bottled water for you and your passengers to avoid dehydration

  • If you have young children in your car, ensure they have plenty of things to keep them amused if you are stuck in traffic

  • Keep your vehicle well ventilated. If you have air conditioning, remember that it only works with the windows closed

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