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Top 10 tips for driving in a heatwave

MINI Convertible

New research has revealed that motorists are sitting ducks when it comes to driving in extreme hot weather with millions failing to take extra precautions.

According to car insurance provider 1ST CENTRAL, 4.4 million admit that they fail to take any safety precautions at all when driving in the hot weather, leaving them at risk of having an accident or a breakdown.

Four-fifths of motorists do not check their car batteries and three-fifths fail to give their tyres the once over. Furthermore, seven in 10 (69%) forget to check their oil levels.

To help drivers, here are 1ST CENTRAL’s eesential tips for driving in a heatwave…

1) Inspect your tyres

With soaring temperatures, the air inside your tyres will expand and affect the pressure which could lead to a blowout. The heat can cause the rubber of a tyre to disintegrate too, so be sure to check the condition of your tyres – damage, wearing and pressure – especially before heading out on a long road trip.

2) Top up your engine fluids

As the temperature begins to soar, so does the temperature of the fluids inside your engine. Oil and coolant are essential for cooling down your engine and keeping it running when it’s being pushed to the extreme. Check your levels before embarking on a journey and top up when needed.

3) Park in the shade to protect your car battery

Car batteries are made of acid and water and the water will evaporate faster than the acid in hot temperatures, leaving lead plates bare. Where possible, park your car in the shade to prevent levels from depleting.

4) Check your wipers

Warm weather brings bugs out in force and you can guarantee your windscreen will be covered in them. Make sure your wipers don’t need renewing and your washer fluid is topped up, so you can wipe off any pesky bug remnants.

5) Don’t forget your shades

A pair of sunnies are a key of any summer driving kit, as they’ll reduce glare and make it easier to see hazards, signs and lights. If you do opt for a fashionable pair, don’t go for blue lenses as they can make amber and green lights look almost interchangeable, causing a problem at traffic lights.

6) Watch out for existing chips or cracks in your windscreen

If you have any chips or cracks in your windscreen, the intense heat and direct sunlight can make these worse. Although it is rare that we experience sub-Saharan temperatures in the UK, when we do the heat causes the glass to expand and contract, fracturing the windscreen or distorting the shape of the glass. To avoid this from happening, just like how you will protect your car battery, park your car in the shade.

7) Pack refreshing drinks in your car, not the boot

It’s always a good idea to pack drinks in your car – not in the boot. This will keep you refreshed and make sure you’re not too hot and drained to be concentrating on the roads. If driving with kids you should be especially careful when out in hot weather, particularly if your car doesn’t have air conditioning. Bring a cool box with some icy treats and could drinks, and make sure the kids are wearing loose clothing to stop them overheating.

8) Remember your emergency kit

As with any long car journey you should always remember to travel with a well-stocked emergency kit, especially in extreme weather conditions. Many minor car issues can be fixed with the tools within these, saving you having to call out for breakdown assistance.

9) Invest in a sun shade

There is nothing worse than stepping in to a sweltering car or burning your hands at the wheel. Why not purchase a reflective sun shade for the windshield which will help prevent the car from getting too hot. Sun shades can also be purchased for passenger seats to protect children from the glare of on long journeys.

10) Do not leave children or pets in the car

Even on short trips and pit stops remember to take children and pets with you instead of leaving them in the car. Although this is something you shouldn’t do, regardless of the weather condition, it is particularly dangerous to leave children and pets in cars in extreme heat as temperatures can treble, especially if your car is not in the shade.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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