Tips for driving in hot weather

This summer has seen the mercury rising past 40 degrees celcius for the first time on record here in the UK, and with future temperatures only predicted to rise over the coming years, we look at how to stay safe in the car during extreme heat.

Keep an eye on your engine coolant level

Engine coolant plays a vital role during adverse weather conditions. Containing a mix of water and coolant, it prevents the liquid in your car’s radiator system from freezing in the winter and overheating during the summer.

Before heading off on that long journey you should ensure that the engine coolant levels are sufficient. You can check this by locating the min and max markers on the coolant tank itself. If your car does require a top up you need to make sure to only do this when the engine has been off for a long enough period that it has cooled down sufficiently. Uncapping the coolant tank when the engine is still quite warm can result in hot liquid spraying everywhere, risking scolding.

 

Check your tyres and top up your oil

It’s important to know what the optimum tyre pressure is for your vehicle and that you don’t over-inflate. Heat leads to a rise in pressure, which in turn causes the air inside your tyres to expand. 

The oil in your car also helps to regulate the engine temperature. If it gets too hot, the levels will drop and its consistency starts to change, which is not good news for anyone.  You should ensure that you check the levels frequently.

 

Air-con or open windows?

When driving in hot weather it’s inevitable that the car will get stuffy. You might think that the best way to cool down would be to roll down the windows, or it may be that you reach for the air-con instead. Whichever one you choose, it’s best not to use both at once. Rather than producing double effect, what will actually happen is you just waste fuel. Recommended advice is that while driving 30 mph or less, you should go with the open windows

Any faster and you should switch over to the air-con. Not only will this approach give you the best of both worlds, it will also save on fuel. Having your windows open reduces the wind resistance of the car, meaning it has to use up more fuel to maintain the same pace.

Stay hydrated

It’s always important to stay hydrated, but when driving in hot weather, it’s even more essential. Being dehydrated makes you uncomfortable, irritable and reduces your ability to concentrate, which is really not good when you need to focus on everything that is happening on the road

Make sure that you keep a good supply of water in the car, so you can pull over and have a good cool drink as soon as you start to feel thirsty

 

Keep your fuel levels topped up

When it comes to topping up the petrol in your car, there are two kinds of people: those who refill as soon as the fuel tank gets to around 1/4 full, and those who are happy to drive around with the fuel warning light on.

The thing is, when the weather’s nice and warm, your car’s fuel levels drop a lot quicker than usual. This means you can’t rely on your normal estimations of how much time you have left before needing to fill up.

 

 

 

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