5 summer car safety tips you should know

August 1, 2018

Now that summer is well and truly here, you might be keen to get out and about in the car. However, before you slide into the driver’s seat, there are a few things you might want to bear in mind. In this blog, we take a look at five safety tips you should know, from car maintenance checks to keeping cool on long journeys.

1. Check your tyre pressure

While you might not give them much thought on a daily basis, your tyres are four of the most important features of your car. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to get from one place to another, so it’s crucial that you look after them properly all year round. It’s your responsibility as a driver to make sure that your tyres are in tiptop condition, and it’s also important that you’re aware of how the change in seasons can affect your wheels.

For example, did you know that the rise in temperature during the summer months can have an impact on tyre pressure? During spells of warm weather, you may find that your tyre pressure fluctuates, and without the correct pressure in each one, you could put be putting yourself at risk. Incorrectly inflated tyres impact on your handling and grip when you’re behind the wheel, meaning you may not be in complete control of your car. This can be especially dangerous when you’re driving at high speeds, so it’s essential that you check your tyres are inflated correctly before you set off on a road trip this summer.

Checking your tyre pressure is simple and quick. You can do this by using a digital tyre pressure gauge - a small device that is inserted into the valve cap of each tyre. The gauge measures the tyre and will show you if you need to inflate or deflate it.

If you don’t already know the correct pressure for your tyres, you will be able to find this information in your car manual, or you may be able to locate these details on a sticker positioned on the inside of the driver’s door. This information will be provided to you in pounds per square inch (PSI). The PSI refers to the number that your tyres should be inflated too.

2. Measure your tread depth

When you’re measuring your tyre pressure, you may also want to take the opportunity to measure the tread depth of each individual tyre. Tread depth refers to the measurement between the section of the tyre that has contact with the road surface and the bottom of the tyre’s deep grooves. A sufficient amount of tread depth is crucial to make sure that your vehicle is able to grip the road.

In fact, it’s illegal to drive with bald, worn out tyres. UK law states that each tyre must have a minimum tread of 1.6mm. If yours don’t, not only are you putting the wellbeing of yourself and other road users at risk, but you could also land yourself a pretty hefty fine. If it’s found that you have one or more tyres with a tread depth below this limit, you may be fined.

3. Plan ahead

If you intend to take a road trip this summer, it’s important that you plan ahead. When the weather forecast is sun and blue skies, a lot of people take to the roads and head further afield to enjoy days out, and as a result traffic can build up. So, if you can, it helps to strategically plan your journey.

For example, you might find it useful to check an online route planner for traffic updates. This will help you time your journey and advise you on which roads you should avoid. Instead of taking major roads, you may want to decide on an alternative route to make it easier to reach your destination safely.

4. Keep cool

When it’s warm outside, there’s nothing worse than being cooped up in a car. On long journeys, if you’re not careful, the inside of your vehicle could become very hot and uncomfortable, which is bad news for you and your passengers. If it’s too warm, you could find that you become fatigued.

To make sure you keep cool and stay alert, crank up the air conditioning or turn your air to the coldest setting possible. If you need extra relief from the soaring temperatures, another option is to put the windows down and enjoy the cool breeze.

5. Stay hydrated

During the warm summer months, it’s crucial that you stay hydrated - especially if you’re planning a long car journey. If you don’t, you may start to feel tired, lose concentration and possibly even start to feel unwell, which isn’t good when you’re behind the wheel. So, to ensure that you feel your best when you’re out on the roads, it’s important that you drink lots of water.

While your passengers will be able to take a sip whenever they like, staying hydrated as the driver can prove more difficult. To make sure that you’re getting enough fluids, you should schedule in frequent stops. This will give you the opportunity to grab a drink, have something to eat and take a rest before you carry on with your journey.

It’s vital that you take car safety seriously all year round, including throughout the summer months.

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