1. Hay Fever
Around 1 in 5 people living in England suffer from hay fever according to the NHS and it can cause so many problems for drivers. For example, if someone is travelling at 70mph and sneezes they could lose their vision for up to 100 metres!
Taking hay fever tablets can reduce the chance of this happening but many of them can cause drowsiness as a side effect. Therefore, if anyone is thinking of getting behind the wheel it’s important to check the label for possible side effects and only choose non-drowsy medication.
What’s more, drivers who take some hay fever tablets could face huge fines as they could be driving under the influence of drugs. Tough new drug driving laws came into force in 2016 which covers prescriptions, over-the-counter medication and illicit drugs. A local pharmacist can offer advice on which hay fever medication is the best for drivers to use.
2. Stay Hydrated
It is incredibly important to keep hydrated when driving as just a 5% drop in hydration levels can cause a drop of up to 30% in concentration levels. The chance of dehydration increases significantly on hotter days so it is important for drivers to take action to avoid this happening.
There’s an incredibly simple solution to coping with this potential problem. Keep a bottle of water in the vehicle and take regular breaks (particularly on longer journeys).
3. Keep The Vehicle Hydrated
During Summer, engines can get extremely hot, especially in standstill traffic. By keeping the vehicle’s coolant topped up it significantly reduces the chance of it overheating – which could save drivers huge amounts in repair bills.
Another tip is to turn the engine off when stuck in traffic as this too will prevent it from overheating and will save on fuel too! Many newer vehicles have a stop/start function, so it is highly recommended to use it when it’s warm.
4. Park In Shade
On particularly hot days, parking in a shaded spot can dramatically reduce the chance of a vehicle overheating once it gets moving. If a shady place is hard to come by try opening the windows and doors for a few minutes before setting off or turn on the air conditioning before starting the journey. Once the vehicle returns to a more comfortable temperature turn off the air conditioning to save on fuel.
5. Check Tyre Pressures
If tyres are already damaged or at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures of Summer will increase the risk of a blowout. To prevent this from happening it’s advised to frequently check tyre pressures and their overall condition.
If a driver wants to tow a caravan they should adjust their vehicle’s tyre pressure in line with the vehicle handbook. It’s important to carry out the same tyre checks on anything being towed too.
Common tyre problems can include under and over inflation, signs of cracking in the sidewall and tread grooves as well as signs of wear.
If there’s anything irregular about a tyre, get in touch with a Pentagon technician. They’d be happy to offer advice and suggest what can be done about it.
6. Beware of Glare
Dazzle from the sun causes lots of collisions but drivers can reduce the effect by keeping their windscreen clean and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers. Windscreens also get very dirty in dry weather and marks can amplify sun glare. Plenty of windscreen washer fluid will help maintain a clear view in the sun. It pays to keep a clean pair of sunglasses in the vehicle all year round but avoid lenses that darken in strong sunlight.
7. Different Road Users
When the weather warms up the chance of coming across road users other than cars, vans, HGVs and motorcycles increases dramatically (particularly on countryside roads). Horses, tractors, cars towing caravans, cyclists and walkers are just some of the new users that drivers must look out for.
The action motorists need to take vary depending on the road user they meet. For example, when approaching a horse, slow down and overtake it when it’s safe to do so at no more than 15mph. If a vehicle drives too fast or too close to the horse, there is a chance it could get spooked which could pose a danger to the rider and other road users. The Highway Code is a good place to start if drivers want to familiarise themselves with how to deal with these road users.
8. Don’t Leave Animals In The Car
In Summer many people want to enjoy the sunshine with their dogs but end up leaving their four-legged friends in the car when they arrive at their destination.
The RSPCA state that if it’s 22 degrees Celsius outside, the inside of vehicle can reach a staggering 47 degrees within one hour. In that heat it could have a serious effect on any animal. Even parking in shade and leaving the windows down will not make it a safe place for dogs, so unless it’s safe to take them with you leave them at home.
9. Summer Health Check At Pentagon
To have extra peace of mind local drivers can book their vehicle in for a 28-point Summer Safety Check which includes an inspection of its engine oil, wheels, tyres and wiper blades. The vehicle’s vital fluids will also be checked and if a Pentagon technician notices it’s a bit low they’ll add up to half a litre at no additional cost. Customers who have the test done will also receive a complimentary waterless wash and wax pack worth £12.
10. What To Worry About In Summer
Hopefully the tips above will have given drivers a greater understanding of what problems they could face and how best to avoid them.
During Summer a vehicle may do things that can seem unusual or alarming but can in fact be completely normal and should not give drivers cause for concern. Here are just a few of them.
- Pools of water under a vehicle. These are caused by condensed water from the air conditioning system
- Smoke from air vents. Unless the smell of the smoke is unpleasant, it’s just water vapour produced by the air conditioning unit that hasn’t had time to condense.
- Roaring from the engine bay. This is the cooling fan turning on and off
- Less power. If a vehicle seems more lethargic in summer, this is probably because the air is warmer and less dense, giving the engine a little less “oomph”.