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Summer Driving Advice
Summer driving conditions are often underestimated, however, with weather that includes sudden downpours and hot temperatures, it is important that you are prepared to face all conditions of the road.
Unfortunately, in the UK summer can often bring heavy rain and flooding. For this reason, it is important that you stay aware of weather forecasts before making journeys in your car.
Check local traffic warnings for flood updates and try to avoid flooded areas, places that are prone to flooding and fords during heavy rain.
In hot temperatures, you may also wish to check traffic warnings to make sure that you do not get stuck in your car in heavy traffic on a hot day.
Prepare your vehicle
Before long journeys in summer, you should check that your vehicle is prepared to cope with all conditions.
We would advise checking your windscreen wipers. If there are cracks or splits visible on your front or rear wipers, or if they no longer make contact with the windscreen or leave streaks when wiping, you should get them replaced. In addition, you should also check your screen wash and refill it if it is not sufficiently full. Sudden and heavy downpours are common during summer, so it is important that your visibility is not impaired.
You should also check all other engine fluids including your oil, which you can inspect at home using your dipstick and have it topped up if it does not meet the minimum level. Make sure that your engine coolant is also at a sufficient level and top it up if it is not, this is important as the coolant will prevent your engine from overheating.
Most cars today are fitted with air conditioning systems, but it is important that you keep on top of maintenance if you want to ensure it is working efficiently. Air conditioning systems are not checked as part of routine car servicing, so it is important that you get it checked every two years.
Having your air conditioning checked and recharged every two years will keep it in good health, lower your fuel consumption and maximise its efficiency. Find out more about air conditioning here.
Check your tyres
Checking your tyres is an important part of vehicle maintenance which should be undertaken at least once a month, however, you should also endeavour to check them before any long journeys during summer.
Make sure that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressures and that they are adjusted appropriately if you are carrying a larger load than usual. You can find out about how to check and adjust tyre pressure here.
As road surfaces can become wet and slippery during summer you should check that your tyres have adequate levels of tread. Tyre tread enables tyres to grip the road and this increases your resistance against aquaplaning and provides short braking distances. Check your tread depth and consider replacing your tyres if tread is lower than 3mm, as at this point handling and aquaplaning resistance is drastically affected.
In addition, you should visually inspect your tyres for any form of damage, take a look at our helpful guide for advice on what types of tyre damage you should be looking out for. When temperatures are hot, damaged tyres can be aggravated by the surface of the road and develop in to larger problems. For this reason, you should visit a tyre specialist if you notice any damage, no matter how small it seems.
If you carry a spare tyre you should also check that it is in roadworthy and useable condition before setting off on any journeys this summer.
What to carry
Merityre Specialists would recommend carrying the following items for driving in summer conditions:
- Bottled water – enough to drink and stay hydrated and to use to top up your engine coolant if your engine overheats whilst travelling
- In-car phone charger – or portable charger or spare mobile phone so that you can contact assistance if needed
- Sunglasses – to protect your eyes and keep your visibility unimpaired
- A first aid kit – in case of emergencies
Driving in rain
If it is raining, you should adjust your driving style accordingly to stay safe on the road. The surface of the road will become slippery and it is easier for your tyres to lose traction, so you should drive at a slower speed than usual.
It also takes longer for you to slow down when the roads are wet, so you should keep a much larger gap from the vehicle in front than you usually would. This should enable you to stop in time if the car in front suddenly brakes.
If you require further guidance when it comes to driving in summer weather conditions you can contact your local Merityre Specialists for more advice and information.
Alternatively, you can read our tips on driving in winter conditions.