Driving your car in the summer season can be challenging. The hot weather can make life difficult while travelling. You will have to make extra efforts to focus on the road ahead while driving in extreme heat. Here are some driving and maintenance tips to overcome hot weather challenges, stay focussed, and not lose your cool while driving during the summer season.
Car Driving Tips During the Hot Weather:
Here are some tips that will be beneficial for you if you are driving long distance in hot weather or even just commuting to work while driving in extreme heat.
Car batteries are positioned underneath the hood and last for years. Probably, that is why it takes time for people to take notice of it during high temperatures. High temperatures and subsequent heat and vibrations can damage a car’s battery. It can cause internal breakdown and fail. To avoid such a situation, check if the battery is securely attached or not. If not, then secure it so that there is minimal vibration.
Excessive heat can also increase the battery fluid’s evaporation level. It can cause corrosion, especially at the terminals and connecting parts. Ensure to check and clean such corrosion. Do get the battery checked if it has crossed the three-year mark.
2) Fluid Level:
Several fluids work in unison to help the car stay cool. The fluid levels in a car need to be maintained to prevent overheating. This becomes even more important during the summer season as the heat evaporates these fluids. People tend to check the engine oil but transmission and brake fluids also need to be checked along with the power steering fluid.
3) Tyre Pressure:
Car’s tyres can be sensitive to extreme heat. Maintaining proper air pressure can prevent issues related to heating. For example, less pressure in the tyres can trigger a blowout. Keep checking the tyre pressure regularly – it can be done every time you visit the petrol pump. Do it irrespective of the queue over there.
Some car enthusiasts might have a tyre pressure gauge at home, they can check the tyre pressure fortnightly. Do not forget about the spare tyre in the back-end of your car. Check its pressure as well.
4) Emergency Kit:
Keeping an emergency kit in your car is advisable irrespective of the weather conditions. It is a good idea to keep checking the kit before a change in the season and modifying its content accordingly. For example, you can remove the extra hoodie and replace it with light cotton clothing as the season changes from winter to summer.
Blood pressure medication, water bottle, and basic first aid tools are an essential part of an emergency kit. All this becomes crucial if you are driving outside city limits or going on a long road trip.
Sometimes, parents tend to keep their children unattended in the car’s back seat while they get out of the vehicle for a quick shopping stop or a smoke break. This can be dangerous in the summers.
Whether the car’s engine is on or off, children should not be left unsupervised, especially the young ones. Temperatures inside a stationary car that is exposed to the sun can shoot up in an instant – this can be an uncomfortable situation for children. The same logic applies for pets as well.
Driving during the summer season means the car’s air conditioning is operational almost all the time. Depending on other factors, this can lower the car’s fuel economy. Therefore, be extra aware of the fuel meter in your car in the summer. You don’t want to be stranded in blistering heat, do you?
Try to clean the windscreen frequently and get rid of any scratches, dents, and cracks. When sunlight falls on such distractions at a certain angle, it can cause a glare, leading to a loss in focus. A few seconds of distracted driving can be a cause for life-threatening accidents. Therefore, be proactive and avoid such situations.
A car can overheat due to multiple reasons. However, higher temperatures can be a trigger. If your car enters ‘overheat mode’, do not take it lightly. Stop and park your car in shade at the first sight of overheating.
9) Plan the Journey:
Driving for long hours in the summer heat can take its toll on you. Driving three hours in winter is different than driving for three hours in high temperatures. You might want to wash your face to be refreshed, change a sweat-soaked shirt, or have a snack thanks to the constant heat.
Be aware of the route, the pit stops, and try to plan your journey in a manner that you avoid the peak heat timings, for example – cover most of the distance before the sun starts operating at full power.
10) Sun Glare:
Keep those fashionable sunglasses handy during the summer season. Consider keeping an extra pair in the car if you do not want to carry them with you every time. For those who wear prescription eyeglasses, you can get special glasses made that will help you to avoid sun glare while driving.
Also, read: Basic Car Maintenance Tips for Beginners
Different weather conditions pose different challenges to a car’s health. Therefore, it is beneficial to take adequate precautionary measures just before the start of every season in case you live in a locality that is exposed to borderline extreme conditions or if there is a drastic change in weather conditions.
While you might not want to undergo the full servicing treatment just before there is a change in the season, you might want to get the vehicle checked and go for specific treatments that can prevent issues before they flare-up.
12) Air Conditioning:
If you want to drive your car throughout the summer in the comfort of air conditioning, ensure to get it checked thoroughly. This way, you can avoid a breakdown.
In case you are someone who needs to be reminded to meet daily water-drinking requirements, then set an alarm or use a similar app that will help you to stay hydrated. Avoid sipping caffeinated or soda-based drinks, rely on water or fresh juices instead. Those who sweat a lot need to pay special attention to their water intake, especially during the summer.
Summer Driving Safety Tips:
Apart from the above-mentioned general tips, here are some specific summer driving safety tips to keep you healthy while driving in hot weather.
- Avoid sun glare by replacing old wipers and keep the windshield clean.
- Take breaks as per your body. For example, if you have a bad back, you might need to take more breaks while on a long trip as compared to someone who doesn’t have such issues.
- Prevent sudden modifications in the temperature by increasing the air conditioning gradually before venturing out of the car and by reducing it slowly after you enter the vehicle after spending some time in the sun. Frequent and sudden fluctuations in the temperature can be unhealthy.
- Try to park the car in the shade whenever possible.
- Avoid driving if you are feeling weak and seek appropriate medical help.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are some frequently asked questions about driving your car in the summer season.
Different weather conditions affect the vehicles differently. Hot weather, combined with other factors, can harm the vehicle. As mentioned in the above sections, a car’s tyres, battery, fluids, and mileage are affected because of intense heat.
Wear light-coloured comfortable clothes made of natural fibre fabrics. Cotton or linen are good choices.
Insurance companies offer a Roadside Assistance Add-on that helps in such tricky situations. It can be purchased with a Comprehensive car insurance policy. Some insurers might offer it as a feature of the policy as well. If you have the appropriate plan, the insurance company will send a mechanic to repair your vehicle or arrange for a towing vehicle to take the car to a garage for repairs.