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Summer driving tips

4 minutes

The warmer, sunnier days can still pose hazards on the roads. Follow these driving tips to help stay safe. 

Adverse weather conditions such as snow, sleet, rain, fog and high winds aren’t the only ones to be wary of when driving.

Bright, sunny days can pose their own risks – especially as there are more vehicles on the road during the summer months and people are likely to be travelling further.

Here are some of the simple things you can do – and potential hazards to look out for – to help you stay safe on the roads.

Summer car checks

It’s a good idea to check your car is in full working order before every journey, but it’s especially important when you’re setting off on a long trip.

Check the engine oil, coolant and windscreen wash are at the correct levels and take a close look at the tread and air pressure of your tyres, as well as checking for any splits.

Icy, skiddy roads may be a well-known hazard but one in three tyre-related incidents actually occur in the summer months.

To help you stay safe, make sure you have the legal minimum of 1.6mm of tread on all of your tyres. You can quickly do this by taking a 20p coin and inserting it into the tread.If the outer band running around the coin is obscured, then your tread is at the acceptable level. If you can see any part of the band then you’ll need to get your tyres checked by a professional as they may be illegal. 

You can check your tyre pressures at most local filling stations, or with a gauge or tyre inflator kit at home.

Your vehicle’s manual will tell you what pressure your tyres should be inflated to, but if you’re not sure you can use this online tyre pressure guide from national charity TyreSafe.

If you’re towing a caravan, be sure to check the pressure of its tyres as well as their condition.

Running out of fuel is one of the most common causes of breakdowns, so always monitor your fuel levels and make sure you have enough in the tank to get where you need to go.

If you’re driving an electric vehicle, check there’s enough charge to reach your destination, or plan where you’ll stop along the route to recharge.

Tips for summer driving

Roads are often busier during sunny spells – especially in the school holidays – while the warm days can lead to tiredness behind the wheel. Here are a few things to watch out for when you’re driving in the summer.

Glare

Direct sunlight can make it difficult to see when you’re behind the wheel. Make good use of your sun visor and keep a pair of sunglasses in the car for when the sunlight makes things tricky.

Tiredness

Feeling tired or drowsy when you’re driving is a serious problem. Around 1 in 5 accidents on motorways may be caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel. 

Bright, sunny days can pose their own risks – especially as there are more vehicles on the road during the summer months and people are likely to be travelling further.

Tractors and other slow-moving traffic

If you’re in the countryside, you’re likely to encounter tractors. If they’re using a dual carriageway, they must display flashing amber beacons.

However, on smaller roads, their slow speed means you could come across them quite quickly, so be ready to slow down.

It’s important to be patient and wait for a suitable moment to overtake when there’s plenty of room ahead to do so.

Don’t take the risk of overtaking if you’re in any doubt, or when you can’t see far enough ahead to be sure it’s safe.

Danger spots for overtaking include when you’re approaching a bend, a hump bridge or the brow of a hill. 

When passing horses the key thing is to pass wide and slow. You can find more tips for driving around horses in our handy guide.

Melting tarmac

If the weather is particularly hot, this can occasionally cause melting tarmac on the road. Generally, this affects motorcycles more than cars, but can pose a risk for all road users. 

Summer is made for adventures but, just as with winter driving, there are still risks when you’re on the road. Follow these tips to stay safe on your summertime journeys. Don't forget to take a comprehensive car insurance policy with you wherever you go.