Snow, rain, and ice are common cold-weather threats, but summer brings with it its own set of dangers. For drivers, the added traffic during summer because of holidaymakers is just part of the increased risk — construction, sun glare, and unpredictable weather patterns all add to the danger. There are also legal considerations which still need to be considered during the summer months. Here is our advice from H McParland & Sons to help with the bigger challenges of summer driving.
Legal requirements include:
- Your vehicle is legal and roadworthy. A roadworthy inspection only covers the major safety related items, including wheels and tyres. steering, suspension, and braking systems. seats and seat belts.
- You have switched off your mobile phone or connected to Bluetooth as it is against the law to use your mobile when driving.
- You must wear a seat belt in cars, vans, and other goods vehicles if one is fitted. Adults and children aged 14 years and over must use a seatbelt where fitted, when seated in minibuses, buses, and coaches.
- Do not drink and drive as it will seriously affect your judgement and abilities. Alcohol can reduce your driving ability, even if you are below the legal limit. Visit drinkaware.co.uk for the facts.
Before setting off. You should make sure that:
- you have planned your route and allowed sufficient time
- clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner
- you know where all the controls are and how to use them before you need them (not all vehicles are the same; do not wait until it is too late to find out)
- your mirrors and seat are adjusted correctly to ensure comfort, full control, and maximum vision
- head restraints are properly adjusted to reduce the risk of neck and spine injuries in the event of a collision
- you have sufficient fuel before commencing your journey, especially if it includes motorway driving – it can be dangerous to lose power when driving in traffic
How to stay safe whilst driving this summer
Start with a cool car
Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive by parking in the shade and allow a few minutes extra to open doors and turn on the air-con to circulate the air before making a long road trip.
Top Tip: Take plenty of cold water with you before heading out on your journey.
Look after your key fobs
It’s easy to lose your car keys in the sand while on the beach or ruin your remote control with water by accidentally taking the fob for a swim.
Remember to keep your keys safe and dry. Check your handbook, as with most cars, there is an alternative way to open the doors if the fob or key becomes damaged.
If your tyres are already damaged or they are at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures of summer will increase the risk of a blowout.
Make sure you check tyres regularly – for condition and pressures – and increase pressures to suit extra loads, as advised in your handbook.
Prepare for Overheating
Excessive heat can take a toll on vehicles. It can lead to tyre blowouts, hinder your vehicle’s braking ability, and cause your engine to overheat more easily.
To help keep your vehicle in check remember to pay extra attention to tyre pressure and tread, checking the brakes frequently, and making sure that your vehicle’s cooling system has all the proper fluids.
Avoid the sun’s glare
Driving can be hard on the eyes at any time of the year, but during summer months, when the sun is out in full force, there’s also an increased amount of sun glare coming off the road and other vehicles.
This can be particularly hazardous during the early morning and late evening. It is worthwhile investing in a good pair of polarized sunglasses to cut down on glare.
The sun’s rays can cause a lot of accidents, but you can reduce the effect by keeping your windscreen nice and clean, and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers.
Do not drive when tired
If you are suffering from driver fatigue while on the road do not be tempted to push on, stop and take a break. It is best to avoid getting overtired in the first place if you can. Try these tips:
- Include a 20-minute break in journeys of more than three hours.
- On longer trips, take a break every couple of hours.
- Take several short (at least 20 minutes) stops rather than one long one.
- Do not drink alcohol or eat a heavy meal before driving.
Consider summer allergies
If you suffer from hay fever and it is particularly bad during the summer months, it is best to get someone else to drive if you can. Also:
- Make sure any medication you are taking does not cause drowsiness.
- Close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car.
- Clean mats and carpets regularly to get rid of dust.
- Keep tissues close to hand.
- Wear sunglasses to block out bright sunlight.
While you cannot change the behaviour of other drivers or the conditions of the road you drive on, following these tips from H McPartland & Sons can help you have a safe summer that is full of fun.
Who We Are
H McPartland & Sons are professional motoring offence solicitors in Lurgan and Lisburn, who can defend you and offer expert advice and a speedy resolution to a number of motoring or driving offences.
Our knowledgeable and specialist teams of solicitors in Lurgan and Lisburn have lots of experience in defending motorists for all types of driving and motoring offences. Our team is completely client focused and we pride ourselves on building trust and providing value to each of our clients, so you can be totally confident in us and our ability to defend you. Contact H McPartland & Sons to speak to our team of solicitors.