Summer Driving Tips

Whether it’s the daily commute to work, the school run or a long journey to a holiday retreat, driving in the summer has its challenges. As well as glare, which can also be treacherous in winter, you’ve got high temperatures to contend with, which can make your car behave differently. Roads are often busier, especially during school holidays, on airport and port approaches, and in and around popular tourist destinations. So, before you head off again, take a look at these summer driving tips.

Summer Car Maintenance

Modern cars largely cope fine with summer weather and driving conditions. However, a few things can crop up – some are nothing to worry about, while others you should be mindful of.

No need to worry:

  • Pools of water under your car – These are caused by condensed water from the air conditioning system
  • Smoke from air vents – Unless the smoke is unpleasant, it’s just water vapour produced by the air conditioning unit that hasn’t had time to condense.
  • Roaring from the engine bay – This is the cooling fan turning on and off
  • Less power – If your car seems more lethargic in summer, this is probably because the air is warmer and less dense, giving the engine a little less “oomph”.

Now the things you need to be aware of.


Tyre blowouts are a more common occurrence in hotter weather, this is due to high temperatures and under-inflation exacerbating existing damage and weak spots, increasing the risk of punctures. Before setting off, check tyre condition and pressures on your vehicle, as well as anything you might be towing.


Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather, especially in standstill traffic, so ensure you check your coolant reservoir, look for wet or white marks on coolant hoses and listen for the fan when your engine is idle. If you think anything’s amiss, have it looked at ASAP.

Fuel Efficiency

Use a roof box and close windows on the motorway to reduce drag; start air conditioning when doors and windows are closed and turn it off when the car has cooled; and increase tyre pressure if you’re carrying extra passengers.


Impaired vision from the sun is a common cause of accidents during the summer. Replace worn windscreen wipers to help keep your windscreen clean, and use sunglasses and overhead sun visors to help block out the sun from your eyes.

Windscreens also get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Plenty of windscreen washer fluid will help you maintain a clear view in the sun – especially when travelling when the sun is low in the sky, typically during your commute.

Dogs in Hot Cars

Too many people still think it is acceptable to leave their dog in the car during the summer. The RSPCA says that if it’s 22 degrees outside, the inside of a car can reach 47 degrees within one hour, which can lead to dangerous and heart-breaking consequences.

Even parking in shade or leaving the windows down does not make the car a safe place for a dog in summer. So unless you can take your dog with you wherever you go, leave it safely at home.

Watch out for more than cars

Drivers have to share the roads with a lot more than just other cars during the summer months. Better weather and longer days attract far more tractors, caravans, horse riders, cyclists and walkers.

It’s vital to remain alert when driving along country lanes in particular, and to avoid any risks when overtaking that could cause an accident.
Motorcyclists appear more often too, so always look twice to ensure you’re aware of what’s around you.

Prepare for rain (you know it’s always just around the corner!)

In Britain we always pay the price for the little good weather we get. Be prepared to adapt your driving style in the event of any sharp changes in weather, as driving through heavy summer storms comes with a totally different set of challenges.

Get a lift to the beer garden

On hot, sunny days people flock to beer gardens, barbecues and festivals. As a result, summer drink driving becomes a major problem each year.

Before heading out to a summer social event, consider how you are going to get home. Don’t drink if you’re driving and find another method of transport if you want to drink. This way you can enjoy the hot weather without putting yours and other people’s lives at risk.

Hay Fever

Research from Halfords suggests 27% of UK drivers suffer from symptoms, and one in three admit to being distracted by hay fever. The onset of hay fever can prove dangerous for drivers – if you sneeze at 70mph you lose your vision for as much as 100 meters!

There are numerous remedies available to help (always choose a non-drowsy form when driving), and wearing sunglasses, keeping a tissue to hand and closing air vents and windows can make your journey more comfortable. But if you’re severely affected by hay fever, it might be best to delay your journey – you don’t want to be one of the 2 million drivers thought to have had an accident, near miss or lost control of their vehicle as a direct result of hay fever.

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