Summer motoring tips

While most drivers realise that precautions need to taken before they set off on a trip during the winter, many do not give a summer trip a second thought. But there are considerations for driver and passengers as well as vehicle.

Take care of people

1. Plan your route in advance and allow regular breaks along the way

2. Keep hydrated. Take plenty of water with you in a coolbag and make sure everyone drinks it. It’ll keep everyone more comfortable and the driver alert

3. Never leave children, older people or pets in a closed vehicle on a hot day. The interior of an unventilated car increase in temperature by around 1 deg C each minute if the vehicle is in the sun. It’s actually illegal to let pets overheat in a vehicle

4. Try to park in the shade. You’ll feel much more comfortable when you return to your car

5. Open the doors for a few minutes to let the heat out before getting in the care to set off on your journey

Take care of your vehicle

6. Check the water and/or coolant levels are topped up in your radiator to help prevent overheating

7. Top up engine oil and brake fluid. Service your vehicle if one is due

8. Beware of the unexpected and prepare accordingly. In many parts of the world, summer weather can be unpredictable. Make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition and that you’ve packed some waterproofs. You may even encounter flash floods; avoid any road that is starting to flood. Pack an emergency kit with torch, jump leads, fluorescent/reflective jacket or tabard and a reflective triangle

9. Check your tyre pressures. Air expands in the heat, so check pressures and inflate in the cool of the evening or early morning

10. Do not overfill your petrol tank as petrol vapour pressure can build up at high ambient temperatures, resulting in overflowing, engine damage or even an explosion

11. Conserve fuel by minimising air conditioning use

12. Pack lightly to lessen the load on your vehicle and reduce petrol consumption.

Take care when driving

13. Sometimes visibility on a hot day can severely compromised by heat haze. Look out for this, and adjust your speed to take into account what you can see clearly

14. Air-conditioning isn’t the panacea for summer days. Turn it up too far, resulting in a cold interior, and the driver’s reaction times could be impaired

15. Keep luggage and other items out of the driver’s line of sight

Wherever you’re going, take care and take a few simple precautions. You’ll have fun and a memorable trip for all the right reasons.

David Williams MBE is the Chief Executive of GEM Motoring Assist, a leading road safety organisation in the UK. They offer breakdown policies for a wide variety of vehicles including cars, motorbikes and caravans and motorhomes.