June 28, 2017 at 4:35 PM
With the passing seasons, the challenges on the roads can vary dramatically. Britain is famous for its ever-changing weather, and while we are always inundated with warnings about safe winter driving, there is a whole different set of risks that you need to take into account during the summer months.
These essentially amount to looking after your car, taking care of yourself and being aware of your surroundings. Let's examine each in turn to keep you and your family comfortable and safe in the summer weather.
Anyone growing up in the 1970s will remember that hot days immediately meant hundreds of stricken Morris Marinas and Vauxhall Vivas by the side of the road, with steam pouring from the radiator. Those days are now be behind us, and modern cars are far more reliable and low maintenance.
But low maintenance does not mean no maintenance. Check the coolant and oil level, particularly when you are planning a long journey, as the engine will consume more of both in hotter weather. Also, be sure to top up the screenwash so that you are ready for all the bugs and flies that will be coming your way.
Tyres are also subject to greater strain in hot conditions, so check they are at the correct pressure to avoid damage.
The car is not the only thing that needs coolant – make sure you have a bottle of fresh water in the car to keep yourself fresh and hydrated. Otherwise, you will not only have an uncomfortable journey, but you will also be at greater risk of losing concentration at a critical moment.
If you are one of England's ten million hay fever sufferers, you probably have a favoured remedy that works for you. Check the packaging for side effects, though, if you are planning on getting behind the wheel, as some medications can cause drowsiness. There are other solutions that can help in this eventuality, for example by setting the ventilation system to “recirculate” and by wearing sunglasses. Don't just try to grin and bear it - a sudden sneezing fit at 70mph can have disastrous consequences.
Everyone loves a drive out in the countryside during the nice weather, and that means everyone. The A- and B- roads are full of cars towing caravans, while the country lanes will be crowded with walkers, cyclists, motorbikes, horses, tractors, combine harvesters and just about anything else you can think of.
With all these hazards in conditions where visibility can be limited due to excessive glare, it is easy to understand why there are so many accidents on the roads over the summer months, particularly during the bank holiday period.
Expect the unexpected, and remember your defensive driving techniques. If you assume that every blind corner you approach has one or more of the above hazards lying in wait and are ready to stop if you have to, then everybody will be able to share the summer roads in perfect harmony. Enjoy!