The British summer can be rather unpredictable but there are a few things you can always rely on. There will be rain, there will be days where it’s so hot that tarmac will melt and there will be hot sweaty and stressed out drivers on the roads. In the first part of this series we looked at keeping calm in traffic jams, keeping cool in the car and avoiding the dangers of poorly maintained wipers. However, there is much more to summer driving so here is more top tips:
Fans and Coolant.
For many people booking their car in for a service is something that springs to mind as winter approaches. The thought of the engine block freezing and cracking because the antifreeze wasn’t replaced is enough to get even the laziest of us to call our local service centre. However, not enough people spare a thought for what an engine goes through during the summer months. With temperatures outside often reaching the mid-thirties, and temperatures inside a car far exceeding that, you should make sure your car is well prepared. Having a full service will mean you have plenty of coolant in your radiator. Just as antifreeze is important in the winter, coolant is important in the summer. It is also worth checking the condition of the fan or fans at the front of the engine. A visual inspection of the blades is enough. Those bits of plastic can make the difference between a successful holiday and a journey home on the back of a flatbed relay truck.
Every car should have some emergency equipment onboard, things like high viz jackets and warning triangles are basic safety essentials. In the depths of winter carrying extra clothing is a very good idea but it is also useful in the summer. In the event of a break down, a warm day can soon turn into a chilly night, and standing by the roadside in shorts and a t shirt can get a little uncomfortable. Extra water and extra food are important for many reasons but at the very least you and your passengers won’t be hungry or thirsty even in the longest of traffic jams.
Sat Navs are not the only Maps
These days most people use, either a dedicated sat nav, or smart phone apps to find their way around. When it comes to holiday season the numbers of us relying on those wonderful little satellites increases even more. The problem comes as people venture into areas they don’t know very well that also happen to have very little in the way of mobile and even GPRS signal. For people travelling from central London to deepest darkest Cornwall, or North Wales, for example, this may come as a bit of a surprise. Suddenly, drivers have literally no idea where they are going and there is not always anyone around to ask for directions. Carrying an old fashioned road atlas in the car will at least give you a fighting chance of finding your destination. It may be a little more effort but it certainly beats sleeping in a layby.
Where ever you go this summer, be careful and treat the heat with the same respect you treat the cold.