Summer is in full swing, with many of us already complaining that it’s “too hot” or we’re “absolutely melting”! Summer months also bring a lot of long drives. While the (hopefully) good weather is certainly something to enjoy, driving during the summer months can present some unique challenges. With this in mind, we’re warning motorists of the dangers of driving in hot weather and some signs to watch out for that your car is struggling with the summer sun.
The glare from the sun has been known to cause collisions, particularly under clear skies at dawn or dusk. It can be particularly dangerous when you’re driving at speed and all of a sudden you’re blinded by the sun.
The best way to protect yourself against the sun’s glare is to make sure the windscreen is clean, both inside and out and remove smears, which will catch sunlight and impair vision. Don’t forget, windscreen wipers only last about a year so it might be time to change them. A pair of unscratched sunglasses are handy as well.
The heat can cause all sorts of problems under the bonnet too. One of the most common problems seen by AA Membership, our roadside rescue service, during hot weather, is overheating. AA patrols deal with many vehicles with low coolant levels, leaking hoses or broken electric cooling fans. Any of these issues can make the car overheat and this can lead to expensive damage.
The best way to avoid a breakdown during a heatwave is to keep an eye on your temperature gauge and top up your coolant fluid regularly. It might also be time to get your car serviced. Remember a car service is just as important during the summer months as it is in winter.
High temperatures can aggravate any existing damage to the rubber in your tyre. It’s very important to check the condition of your tyres and regularly make the trip to the fuel station to check the tyre pressure. Under-inflation causes friction and therefore heat, and the greater the heat, the greater the effect on weak-spots in your tyre. If you combine heat, under-inflation and weak spots, you’ll find the perfect recipe for a tyre blow-out.
At the beach
Coastal roads are likely to be very busy during hot weather as people flock to the beach. If you are going to the beach it’s important to take care of your belongings. It’s very easy to lose your car keys in the sand and every year AA Membership receive calls from people who have gone into the sea with their key fob in their pocket, only to realise that remote control access to their car doesn’t work when it’s time to go home.
We’re not the only ones who suffer in extreme heat, our four-legged friends feel it just as much, if not more than us. Never leave your dog in a car during hot weather, even if it feels cool outside. As soon as the engine is turned off and the cool air is not being pumped into the vehicle, it can get extremely hot. If you do have to bring your dog with you, try to avoid long journeys and the hottest time of day, make sure you have plenty of water and consider using a car sunblind to provide shade.
To show you just how hot it can get in a car in hot weather, we’ve created this video. Watch video here.
Worried about breaking down this summer? AA Membership is available online from €10 per month.