It hasn’t taken long for our roads to get back to the levels of traffic they were at pre-pandemic. Many of us are back to rushing around from A to B in the car without a second thought, even more so now it’s the summer when the weather is pleasant and road conditions are better and more predictable than in the winter. However, summer conditions can still take a toll on both you and your car, so it's really important to make sure that you prepare yourself and the car for the summer season.
So here are some Thame Cars top tips for summer car safety, to help you along the way.
Let's first have a look at some ideas for maintaining your car, and some tips on how to protect your car from the sun.
Many would argue that the Great British summer weather is no less unpredictable than any other time of the year! So, you need to keep an eye on your tyre condition. Tyres run warmer during the summer than at other times of the year, so they have an increased chance of a blowout, which is not fun when you're doing 70 on the motorway!
Check your tyre pressures early in the morning or late in the evening when your tyres are cooler, and always before you start your journey, because your tyres will heat up and pressures will increase as you drive. Your tyre inspection should also be looking for uneven tyre wear which could be a sign of wheel or suspension issues. Tyres need a minimum legal tread depth of at least 1.6mm, ideally at least 3mm for decent grip. Also look out for nails, screws or stones that might have caused punctures, and check the sidewalls for bulges which are signs of a weakness in the tyre and will increase the risk of a blowout.
Regularly check your oil and coolant levels, because a low level on either of these could spell trouble.
Always check your oil with the engine switched off so the oil drains to the bottom of the engine and it can be measured accurately. If it's a bit low, top it up to somewhere around the maximum level indicated with the right grade of oil, but keep checking it as you do to make sure you don't overfill it.
Your coolant reservoir will also have a level indicator, so keep monitoring this to make sure you're not losing coolant, because your car is more likely to overheat in hot conditions.
Don't wait for a warning light in the car, because damage could already have been done by the time the light comes on.
Direct sunlight can take its toll on your car, making your interior unbearably hot. Put all the windows down when you first set off to circulate some air and give the air conditioning a helping hand.
A great tip is to turn your steering wheel 180 degrees when you park, so when you get back in the car you don't burn your hands on the section you're holding.
As the one responsible for driving the car, your safety as driver is also paramount. So here are some things you can do to ensure your summer car safety.
If you’ve noticed your air con system has less cooling power than usual then it might be due a ‘regas’. Over time some of the gas can escape from the system which reduces the pressure and reduces it’s effectiveness.
If you’ve noticed a sudden drop in your air con power and / or it’s making unusual noises that there may be damage to the system itself. This can be caused by debris from the road and may need expert assistance to fix.
Your air con is an important part of your driver wellbeing tool kit, though you don’t notice it until it’s not there!
Even being very slightly dehydrated could seriously affect your concentration levels and reaction times, or at the very least will give you a headache which will make your journey miserable.
So keep yourself hydrated with water or another soft drink, rather than caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea which could dehydrate you even more.
Take a bottle of water with you in the car so you've got it to hand when you need it, otherwise you might be tempted to press on without stopping for a drink.
Bear in mind that your air conditioning will also make the air inside your car drier, and dehydrate you more quickly.
If you're on a long journey during the summer, the heat will cause you fatigue more quickly. So, make sure you take regular breaks for a leg stretch or something to eat, to prevent tiredness or a loss of focus while you're behind the wheel.
Also make sure that you wear sun cream while you're in the car, because you can still get sunburn through the windows. Wear light and airy clothes so that your body stays a comfortable temperature while you drive.
Don't forget to check in with your passengers to see if they're comfortable or if they need a break too.