(Image Source: Flickr)
Summer can bring with it the occasional heatwave, and while the best thing to do is to stay indoors and out of the heat, that is usually not possible for most people. Driving in a summer heatwave can bring with it its own set of complications, which is why it is a good idea to be aware of a few basic tips that can help you and your automobile to both get through this time unscathed.
If you have not had a recent car service or are intending to go on a lengthy trip, you should have it checked out by a professional prior to doing so. You should be sure that your vehicle is still in good enough condition to avoid awkward breakdowns. A service will take care of many of the possible issues listed below, particularly for those who do not feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to check those issues themselves, such as new drivers and young drivers.
Extra strain is placed on your car battery by hot temperatures. The great majority of batteries these days do not require maintenance, but if there are caps on your battery it would still be a wise move to check the level and then top it up when required. For absorbed glass mat, gel cell or wet cell batteries, which do not usually require maintenance, you should still check them over to make sure there are no leaks or cracks. Corrosion on the terminals should always be cleaned on all forms of batteries, with all connections secured. Check the battery is safe from vibration and firmly mounted.
Vision and emergencies
The sun remains on the horizon for a much longer period of time during the summer months, which can make it harder for drivers to see west in the evening and east in the morning. It is essential to have a clean visor or windscreen, as vision can be obstructed by bright light being diffracted by scratches and dirt. It is also a good idea to ensure your car has an emergency kit, including water, a torch with additional batteries, an emergency beacon, first aid kit, basic hand tools and jumper cables if your vehicle is an older model. Ensure you are carrying some spare cash in the event of unexpected emergencies.
Hydration and protection
While protecting your car when driving in the summer months is vital, it is also important to protect yourself from these more extreme conditions. Make sure you have plenty of spare water for yourself and any passengers you may have (including pets). You should also put on sunscreen, and have more of it in the car. Bring a hat in the event that you need to step outside.
People tend to wear lighter footwear or even no shoes at all during summer, but while it is not technically illegal to drive with no shoes it is not advisable. Bare feet do not have the same braking force as feet with shoes on. High heels and flip-flops are also a bad idea. Shoes worn when driving should always have a solid base and a good grip, so that pressure can be applied to pedals, but you also need to allow for some finesse when manipulating the controls.