01 May 10 summer driving hazards to avoid
Summer driving has its own set of challenges whether you’re on home ground or not. High temperatures, increased stress levels, and extra demands on your car are all par for the course, so make sure you read our advice to stay safe on the road.
Wet or lost key fobs
It’s easy to lose your car keys in the sand, or ruin your remote control with water by accidentally taking the fob for a swim.
Keep your keys safe and dry and check your handbook – on most cars, there’s an alternative way to open the doors that you can use if the remote stopped working.
If you do need a replacement car key or key fob, call AA Keycare on 0818 646 004. Our specialist service means you’ll have access to a nationwide network of locksmiths.
If your tyres are already damaged or they’re at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures of summer will increase the risk of a blowout.
Make sure you check tyres regularly – for condition and pressures – and increase pressures to suit extra loads, as advised in your handbook.
Check caravan tyres too, and replace those that show any signs of cracking in the sidewall or tread grooves..
Dazzle from the sun causes lots of accidents but you can reduce the effect by keeping your windscreen nice and clean, and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers.
It pays to keep a clean pair of sunglasses in your car year-round but avoid lenses that darken in strong sunlight.
If you feel tired, stop and take a short nap (up to 15 minutes) or drink two cups of strong coffee.
It’s best to avoid getting tired in the first place if you can. These tips can help:
- Include a 20-minute break in journeys of more than 3 hours
- On longer trips, take a break every couple of hours
- You’re better off taking several short (at least 20 minutes) stops than one long one
- Don’t drink alcohol or eat a heavy meal before driving
- Don’t stop for a nap on the hard shoulder, and make sure you check parking restrictions before putting your head down at a motorway service area as you could get a ticket for overstaying your welcome.
If your hayfever is particularly bad, it’s best to get someone else to drive if you can. Also:
- Make sure any medication you’re taking doesn’t cause drowsiness
- Close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car
- Clean mats and carpets regularly to get rid of dust
- Keep tissues close to hand
- Wear sunglasses to block out bright sunlight
Roads repaired with tar and loose chippings are a common sight in the summer but they can cause cracked headlamps and windscreens, and damage paintwork if you’re not careful. Stick to any temporary speed limit that’s been put in place and keep your distance from the car in front.
If you’re a smoker, don’t just throw your cigarette out of the window when you’ve finished it. Verges and embankments can become bone-dry and a smouldering cigarette may be enough to ignite roadside grass.
The driver of that slow-moving tractor in front of you may have a soundproofed cab or could be wearing ear protectors, so may not be able to hear approaching cars.
Be aware that tractors only have to have brake or indicator lights if driving at night, so they may stop or turn suddenly and without warning in daylight hours.
When you’re driving in the countryside:
- Keep plenty of distance behind a tractor
- Remember that a tractor may be longer than it appears – there could be a loader on the front
- Before overtaking, make sure you have plenty of room to get past
Avoid a breakdown this summer
- Slow down if you come across a spillage – if you hit a bale of straw at speed you will damage your car
- Don’t park in a gateway or passing place – they are farmers’ field access points
- Drive extra carefully after rain, which can turn dry mud into a skid pan
- And don’t forget that if you do experience a breakdown AA Rescue fixes 8 out of 10 vehicles on the spot. Meanwhile, if you’re planning to drive across Europe this summer, remember that with AA European Breakdown Cover local garages across our European road network will be on standby should you experience any bumps on the road.