Driving in the summer can bring as much distress as it does delight. The dream of getting away from it all quickly turns to despair as you realise every other family and youth group is doing the same.
With more vehicles on the road, from bicycles and motorbikes to tractors and trailers, the chance of hitting a traffic jam is high, journey times get longer and accident rates go up. We’ve gathered up some useful tips to help you stay safe on the busy summer roads.
Caring for your car
Before you drive hundreds of miles across (or out of!) the country, it’s essential that everything in your vehicle is running at its best, and it may be worth getting it serviced. However, there are a few basics you can check yourself:
- Ensure vehicle coolant levels are correct.
- Test that the air conditioning is working effectively.
- Make sure the screen wash is full, and an extra bottle is stashed inside the vehicle.
- Check the tyres are not damaged or threadbare. Hot weather swells tyres and increases the risk of puncture, while sudden summer showers can leave roads flooded and slippery.
The tractor factor
As agricultural activity ramps up over the summer, more farm vehicles take to the roads in rural areas. These large and lamentably slow machines move differently to other traffic, and should be approached with this in mind.
- Tractors don’t have to use indicators in the daytime, so be prepared for them to turn unexpectedly.
- Overtake with caution, as the tractor may have a loader on the front.
- Watch out for farmyard detritus dropped behind tractors and pick-up trucks. Mud and hay can become extra slippery after rain.
Warm and weary
Hot weather can make even the most experienced driver drowsy, increasing the chance of motorists making mistakes. A blast of fresh air or putting the radio on can help you wake up, but it’s best to avoid getting to that stage.
- Take 20-minute breaks every two hours on long journeys.
- Avoid eating a heavy meal before driving.
Avoid the glare
Bright sunny days can be dazzlingly dangerous to drivers, particularly those without the right eyewear.
- The best lenses for driving are polarised – a bit more expensive but worth the cost.
- Class 4 sunglasses lenses are not suitable for driving use.
- Avoid driving in sunglasses with deep arms that can block your peripheral vision.
- If you wear glasses to correct your vision, make sure you get prescription sunglasses too.
- Don’t use high gloss vinyl cleaners on the dashboard, as this creates extra relections.
Hay fever is an underrated hazard for drivers in the summer, with dangerously distracting symptoms like sore eyes and sneezing. Hayfever sufferers should monitor pollen count levels and prepare accordingly.
- Only use non-drowsy Antihistamines, such as loratadine and cetirizine.
- Dehydration can worsen symptoms so keep a water bottle in the car.
- Wear sunglasses (see above) to keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Keep windows closed and instead use air conditioning to keep cool.
- Vacuum your vehicle to remove pollen and dust.
Highway to help
Taking as many of these measures as you can will reduce the risks on the road, but in the unfortunate event of an accident, it’s good to have a proper insurance policy behind you.
Our account handlers are here and happy to advise on insurance and roadside cover options for minibuses and other vehicles owned by your Scout group or charity.
For more information on our insurance for minibuses and other motor vehicles, please click on the links below:
Or call our friendly team of experts on 0345 040 7702.