At last the sunny weather has arrived, but that doesn't mean driving becomes any easier on the roads. We hate to introduce a downer to this blog, but July and August are the months in the year with the highest number of accidents on Britain's roads, according to RoSPA.
A bit scary to contemplate, however, think ahead, be prepared and drive safely on the roads this summer. Here are some summer driving safety tips.
There are several potential summer driving hazards when driving in sunny summer weather. For example, sun glare while driving, hot temperatures in the car affecting concentration, over-packed luggage space reducing rear view visibility, more cars on the road due to staycations, road rage, and people driving too fast to get to airports and destinations on time.
Read on for our summer driving safety tips and how to avoid all this stress when driving on the roads this summer.
As the Scouts and Guides say - 'Be Prepared'! Spending a little time preparing in advance can take a lot of hassle out of summer road trips.
Plan your route to avoid bottle necks and hot spots and familiarise yourself with your chosen route before setting out. The RAC,Michelin and AA are great sources of inspiration for route planning.
Many of our brands have applications within the on-board infotainment to help you, for example, Honda's My Honda+ App is available on the Honda Jazz and Honda e models. Most models across our brands have satellite navigation within the dashboard to help you plan your journey to your chosen destination.
It's tempting to take 'everything but the kitchen sink', especially when holidaying closer to home. Remember to keep a clear line of vision in the rear window and don't overpack the boot space with luggage.
Remember that you can buy accessories such as a bike rack or roof box to take the extras and still stay safe. All of our brands have a range of accessories that are suitable for fitting to the models they serve. Contact our Parts Departments for expert advice.
There may be more passengers than usual in the car when going on holiday, so remember this when pulling out of junctions and overtaking. A fully packed vehicle will take longer to respond and build up speed. Handling and stopping distances can also be affected.
If you are susceptible to hay fever, remember to keep the cabin pollen filters regularly changed when the service is due. Taking hay fever medication can make you drowsy, so try to avoid this by keeping the windows closed and the air conditioning on for cool air flow.
Never drive in flip-flops, sandals or bare feet! The soles so easily wrap round and get stuck in the pedals, causing an accident. In fact the Highway Code says that you must check that your "clothing and footwear do not prevent you using the controls in the correct manner".
Take plenty of water on your journey and schedule regular stops for drinking it to avoid de-hydration. A 15 minute break after every 2 hours' drive is recommended.
If travelling with pets, remember to consider their needs and never leave them in a parked car. Read our blog on safe car travel with your pets for more information.
Sun glare while driving can be more dangerous than rain, sleet or fog. Before driving in the sun, make sure your windscreen is clean from dirt, oil, smears and dust. Remember to top up your screenwash before starting your journey. Check your sun visors are in good working order. If travelling with small children, rear side windows can be fitted with sun blinds. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the glove box so as not to get caught out driving in sunshine. Sun glare while driving is pretty scary - if you are startled by strong sunlight, pull over safely to let your eyes rest and re-adjust.
When you park up, try to find a shady spot so that the car isn't uncomfortably hot when you get back. Placing a towel or cloth over the steering wheel when parked will help keep it from getting too hot to touch when you set off again.
Many of our new car models have a range of driver assistance systems to help you drive smart. Lane assist, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, travel assist, blind spot reduction, reversing cameras, collision mitigation and low speed braking control to name but a few. Remember these features are designed to help the driver, but you must keep concentration and awareness too.
Be particularly careful of bikes and motorcycles and give them plenty of room. Remember a cyclist going at a pace will be catching you up as you overtake them, so don't cut back in too early. Be aware too of hikers, ramblers, horse-riders and dog walkers who will all be out enjoying the sunshine too.
The easiest way to prepare your car or van for the road this summer is to book a vehicle health check. This check is available at any time of year and is useful to book in between services. Our qualified Technicians give the vehicle a thorough visual check on the ramp, and top up any fluids that are running low. Tyres are checked too and a full report of the condition of your vehicle provided to you.
Finally, we do hope you have a safe and relaxing journey this summer. If you need any advice or information regarding new or used cars, vans or campers for sale; servicing or vehicle checks; MOTs or travel accessories, then please give your nearest branch a call and our Sales and Service teams will be happy to help.