Come Whit Half term holiday there is an air of excitement – maybe fear! and anticipation around our young people about to sit exams. They will soon be over for another year and the long summer holiday begins.
Time to think about safe summer driving
On the face of it – you would have expected summer driving to be less hazardous that the wet, cold or icy winter conditions – but there are many little “nasties” in the summer too – here are a handful of reasons why summer can be more dangerous than winter on the road and some reminders to help you stay safe.
High temperatures, holiday traffic, tractors, overheating, punctures, more teens…..it is quite a list of hazards to watch out for…..
Soaring temperatures can play havoc with the car cooling system.
Low coolant level, leaks from hoses or a faulty fan can result in overheating which can cause expensive damage to your car.
Check your coolant level.
Be aware of wet patches under the car and check the fan is cutting in
Punctures and tyre blow outs
The high temperatures of summer makes the air inside your tyres expand – and this can increase the risk of a blowout especially if tyres are already damaged or they are at the wrong pressure.
Make sure you check tyre condition and pressure regularly – especially during a heat wave, and increase pressures to suit extra loads, as advised in your handbook.
Check caravan or trailer tyres too, and replace those that show any signs of cracking in the sidewall or tread grooves.
Dazzle from the sun causes lots of accidents but you can reduce the effect by keeping your windscreen nice and clean, so top up your washer bottle and replace worn or damaged windscreen wipers.
It pays to keep a clean spare pair of sunglasses in your car year-round too.
Wet or lost key fobs
It is not difficult to lose your car keys in the sand, or mess up your remote control with water by accidentally taking your keys for a swim!
If this happens check your handbook – there may be an alternative way to open the doors that you can use if the remote stopped working.
Tractors and the countryside.
Be aware that the tractor in front of you may have a soundproofed cab, or could be wearing ear protectors, so may not be able to hear approaching cars.
And did you know that tractors only have to have brake or indicator lights if driving at night, so they may stop or turn suddenly and without warning in daylight hours.
So be considerate when out enjoying the countryside and keep plenty of distance behind a tractor, it may be longer than it appears – there could be a load on the front .Before overtaking make sure you have the room to get past safely.
When out enjoying the countryside remember – slow down if you come across a spillage – if you hit a bale of straw at speed you’ll damage your car. Don’t park in a gateway or passing place – they are farmers’ field access points. And do drive extra carefully after rain, which can turn dry mud into a skid pan.
With more people on the road and busy weekend holiday traffic congestion can easily lead to impatience and road rage.
Keep your distance and be alert and aware –drivers may be unfamiliar with the road and be slow and unpredictable. Also look out for increased pedestrians, cyclists and motor bikes at this time of year.
Service your car regularly and if you are planning a long trip have it serviced a couple of weeks before you go.
Check your tyres and pressure frequently. Under inflated tyres are not only dangerous they create drag which uses more fuel.
Check your screen wash bottle before a journey – and carry some spare if you have a long trip ahead.
Check your windscreen wiper blades for cracks & splits.
Make sure your lights are working.
Check oil & water levels regularly.
Take your mobile phone with you on journeys – and make sure you know have the number of your breakdown service with you – just in case.
Just a few ideas to help keep you and your drivers safe this summer.