Driving Safe in High Temperatures

    Posted by Ben Davidson about 10 months ago

    If you are not used to driving in hot weather, it can be quite a shock just how hot your car can get when the temperature rises, how blinding the sun can be, and how quickly you dehydrate.


    The most obvious danger is the way the sun can reduce your visibility, and how ill you can start to feel if your car does not have air-conditioning and you do not drink enough water. There are also other dangers that are not so apparent. Long dry spells tend to cause oil and dust to build up on the roads. It then only takes a small amount of rain to make the tarmac dangerously slippy.


    According to information from the United States National Weather Service, more people die on US roads because of heat than any other type of weather such as flooding, hurricanes and thunderstorms combined. You can drive safely in high temperatures if you follow these few tips.


    Avoid Rush Hours


    No matter what country you are driving in there will be times of day when people are trying to get to work or to get home again afterward. Rush hours are when most accidents happen all over the world, as any auto accident attorney will tell you, but rush hours in heat can produce even more dangerous driving and they are best avoided. I know it’s not always possible, but if it is, you should adjust your schedule to stay safe.


    Leave for your trip either before or after the rush hour starts so that you can take a more leisurely drive. Plan alternative routes so if you do see the motorway up ahead blocked you can get to your destination by avoiding them.


    Use The Air Conditioning



    If the car you are driving has air conditioning, use it. Close all the windows and the sunroof if there is one, to feel the most benefit. It can be very tempting if you are driving a convertible car to take the sunroof off, but in the hottest times of the day, that is the wrong thing to do.


    Put any sun visors down, wear sunglasses and put sun shields in the back windows if you have any passengers. Close up and stay cold is what you need to do.


    Remember though, that your car will use more fuel when you are running the air conditioning so make sure to keep your fuel tank topped up. Check all your other fluids are topped up as well. Things such as your oil and wiper and coolant reservoirs should all have plenty in them before you start your journey.


    Take Supplies


    If you get stuck in a traffic jam in hot weather, you would be really pleased that you packed a cool box with bottles of water and a few snacks. You should pack more than you think you will need in case the delay is a long one.


    Don’t forget to have some sunscreen in the car, as well as antihistamine or allergy tablets. You do not suddenly want a fit of sneezing or running eye while you are driving, as that could be very dangerous.


    The last thing in your survival kit should be the details of what to do if your rental car breaks down. This is unlikely, but you need to know who to contact if it does happen. You do not want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere and not be able to get the help you need.


    Don’t Forget Your Animals

    If you have a pet in the car with you, do not forget that their needs will be similar to yours. They will need plenty to drink as well as toilet breaks and stretching their legs. Never leave the animal alone in the car when it’s hot without a good supply of air. You may come back to your car either to find your pet very ill, or a smashed window with a policeman waiting for you. It is far better to take them with you, and you will find that hotter countries tend to be more used to dealing with pets on terraces of restaurants and similar places.


    Driving in Sun Glare


    Sometimes, the sun can be so low that the sun visors in the car do not stop it shining in your eyes. Hopefully, your sunglasses will help, but if you are suffering from poor visibility because of the sun, you are better off pulling over for a while, as it will soon improve.


    While the sun is like this never slam your brakes on, as the driver behind you will probably not see them. Try to slow down gently, and put your hazards lights on if necessary to warn the other road users that you have a problem.


    Driving In The Wet In Hot Climates


    The oil and dust the roads collect in dry weather can make them lethal in the wet weather. They become very slippy and can be a huge danger if you do not slow right down. Avoid hitting your breaks hard, as it will take longer to stop as your car slides along. A gentle pressure on the brake pedal is best.


    If your car is in cruise control, turn it off so that you regain the power of the vehicle. When you feel the control of the car coming back to you, you can slowly take your foot off the accelerator and out just a bot of pressure on the brake pedal to slow you down.


    Use Your Common Sense



    You need to be sensible if you are going to be driving in hot weather, especially if you are not used to it. It can be very pleasant seeing all the scenery and places you have not been before, but you need to ensure that you and your passengers get to your destination safely and in comfort. Remember to not overdress as that will get too much in the heat, and to keep a bottle of water handy at all times. Then apart from problems with the sun, hopefully, your road trip will be uneventful and the time spent at your destination will be safe and sound.


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