Top tips for safe summer driving as Britain heats up
With the Met Office predicting above-average temperatures for the next two months and a “dome of heat” heading for Britain in August, extreme driving conditions are a possibility for many of the country’s roads this summer. We’ve put together a list of tips for drivers, professional and otherwise, on how to navigate heatwaves and heavy rain alike.
1.Hydrate your vehicle…
It’s vital that your engine oil, coolant and screen wash levels are correct and topped up where necessary, as well as your transmission fluid and brake fluid. Coolant and oil will help to prevent your engine overheating, which is particularly important on long delivery routes or when driving to holiday destinations. Screen wash helps to reduce glare by keeping your windscreen free from streaks and scratches, which in turn can prevent tired eyes on longer journeys.
2.… And hydrate yourself, too!
It goes without saying that keeping a large bottle of water within reach at all times is crucial on hot summer drives, but it’s advisable to keep a second bottle in the boot too, as this is likely to stay cooler for longer. Anti-glare sunglasses, a cap or visor and sun block are of course essential accompaniments that should be kept to hand or in the cab of larger vehicles so they can be grabbed at short notice.
3.Try out your tyres
Hot weather can increase tyre pressure, while certain road surfaces become soft under the sun, which reduces grip. If the heat gives way to heavy rainfall, surface grip will be reduced still further. It’s important to check the tread and pressure of your tyres before every journey, particularly if you’re making a heavy goods delivery or won’t be able to stop easily for long stretches.
4. Fuel – and refuel
Before you set off on long journeys, fill your petrol tank, charge your phone and pack your charger, and eat something that releases energy slowly. Once you’re on the move, ensure you’re taking note of service station signs for a coffee or rest stop, top up your phone’s charge regularly and snack on foods that won’t cause an energy crash.
5. Cut out the queues
Planning an alternative route – preferably one that bypasses motorways – is wise if you’ll be driving during rush hour, on a Bank Holiday or en route to an airport. If you do find yourself stuck in a jam, winding down your windows instead of using your vehicle’s air conditioning will save fuel; and, if you’re driving a long or heavy goods vehicle, be sure to keep well back from the vehicle in front in case of any stops and starts in traffic flow. Summer showers are a reminder to leave at least double the usual distance between yourself and the traffic ahead of you.
Russell Thompson joined us as a driver before working his way up to Operations Controller for our courier division. He advises: “Whether you’ve been driving professionally for decades or you’re setting out on your first motorway drive since passing your test, it’s easy to forget that summer weather can pose hazards just as serious as those we face on the roads in winter.
“Taking extra precautions when especially hot or wet weather is forecast will ensure that you, your vehicle and the goods you’re transporting will all arrive at your destination safe and sound – without breaking a sweat!”
Further advice on driving during hot or changeable weather can be found at Safe Driving For Life, an information resource produced in partnership with the DVSA: https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/.
For more information about NX Courier, please visit https://www.nxcourier.co.uk/. You can also follow us on LinkedIn and on Twitter via @thenxgroup.