There's often a lot of discussion about driving safely during the winter and lots of emphasis is put on this subject. But there is often not enough emphasis put on driving safely during the summer too. Most drivers are aware of the dangers of driving in ice and snow but many aren't prepared if they break down during their summer holiday. Here are some summer driving tips which will keep your car moving and help you stay stress-free during the warmer months of the year.
Getting ready for the summer
Many people jump into their car for their summer holiday without even checking the basics. It is of course important that the car is regularly serviced so that it's in good working order. But before you drive into the sunset things you can check include:
o Cooling system - one of the biggest causes of breakdown during the summer is the car overheating. Hot weather and lots of driving can put a strain on your vehicle's mechanical components. If you add to this the chance that you'll likely be sitting in a traffic jam at some point in time you can see why problems occur. A quick look under the bonnet at the coolant level as well as checking cooling hoses and drive belts can avoid problems.
o Air-conditioning - this might not stop the car working but it can put you and the passengers in an uncomfortable environment for an extended period of time if it's not working correctly. After a few years of use car air-conditioning systems need to be serviced or re-gassed to keep them working properly.
o Windscreen wipers and washer fluid - wipers should be checked on a frequent basis but if you can't remember when the last time you had a look at the ones on your vehicle the perfect time is before you embark on your summer holiday. Likewise make sure the washer fluid is topped up. If you are doing lots of motorway driving you'll need it.
o Tyres - like wipers these should be checked on a regular basis, so don't just think they need more attention during the summer months. Check the tread on all the tyres and check the spare in the boot. Also make sure your tyres are inflated correctly. If the car is heavily loaded you might need to top up the pressure.
o Bulbs - make sure you have a spare bulb kit in your glove box so that you'll be able to replace any should you have a problem while on holiday. Bulb kits aren't expensive and are an invaluable car accessory.
As well as checking the car is in good working order there are a few things also worth noting for the summer period.
Running out of fuel
It's amazing just how many people run out of fuel while on holiday. The excitement of being on holiday combined with unfamiliar surroundings can leave you in trouble when the petrol light comes on and you don't know where the nearest filling station is.
Always make sure you have a pair of sunglasses in the car when driving in the summer. Many crashes are caused by glare or drivers unable to view the road properly due to sunny conditions.
Many people only use their roof racks or bicycle holders once a year so don't pay careful attention when attaching them to the vehicle. If you are using a vehicle accessory such as this make sure it is secure before setting off.
Children can be a distraction when driving long distances. And distractions can cause accidents. So to stop the "are we nearly there yet" remarks, which usually start within ten minutes of pulling off your driveway, make sure you have loads of things planned for them to do.
Dean Grant bought his 2008 Ford Focus from Matlock Ford Cars United Kingdom. He takes the vehicle back to the dealers every year after spring to get a summer check-up.