Biz Extra

Published: June 20, 2022 | Updated: June 21, 2022

Stay cool and in control: Matt Peacock, MD of Star Tech, with useful summer driving advice

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Matt Peacock, MD of Star Tech Ltd in Poole, offers his motoring advice on summer driving.

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Motorists face new challenges with summer driving which can affect everything from a car’s reliability to the safety of passengers and pets.

So here are some useful tips…

1. Essential checks

Before travel check your car’s oil, coolant and windscreen washer fluid levels. Oil and coolant are essential for cooling down your engine and keeping it running well.

Ensure any advisory repairs from your last service or MOT are carried out in advance.

Check tyre pressures and condition (legal tread minimum is 1.6mm). Worn or damaged tyres can dramatically increase the chances of punctures and accidents.

Finally, make sure your car’s lights (headlights, rear lights, brake lights, hazard lights, registration plate lights and indicators) and wipers are all working.

2. Interior temperatures

Temperatures can reach deadly levels quickly in a car. Children and dogs should never be left in a car at any time, even during our usual British summer. Dogs cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws. It can take minutes for them to succumb to heatstroke in a hot car.

If possible, leave your dog at home on hot days. If you have to take them, pack fresh drinking water and a bowl, take frequent breaks and keep them cool.

3. Plan your route

Don’t just rely on a smartphone app or built-in sat nav – plan your journey on a map, just in case.

4. Expect the unexpected

If fitted, check your spare tyre condition. Ensure the jack, spanner and locking wheel nut are present and pack spare key remote batteries.

Keep an emergency number for your breakdown provider, just in case.

5. Stay hydrated and alert.

Motorists who don’t drink enough water make more mistakes including late-braking, drifting within a lane and crossing lane lines. Major symptoms of dehydration include slower reaction times, loss of focus and muscle cramps. Take regular rest stops.

6. Keep cool

Avoid overheating. It’s been proven that drivers’ reaction times can drop in the heat. Ensure your air conditioning works well and get the system recharged if needed. Explore the settings and vents to use it as efficiently as possible.

7. Stay in the shade

Parking your car in the shade is wise. Apart from being cooler, it can benefit your car’s battery which contains water and acid. The water will evaporate faster than the acid in hot temperatures, leaving the lead plates bare, which can damage the battery.

A windscreen sunshade is a great investment.

8. Don’t be dazzled

The glaring summer sun is often a factor in summer collisions. Ensure your windscreen is clean, wear sunglasses and use your sun visor. And remember, if you are suddenly dazzled by the sun, slow down and leave extra space between yourself and the driver ahead.

9. Keep it clean

In summer, cars get peppered with bird poo and insect splats. Clean them off regularly to avoid bodywork damage.

Wash your car early or later in the day. Direct sunlight causes shampoo residue and rinse water to dry onto the surface of the paintwork resulting in streaking and drip marks.

Enjoy your road trip and stay safe.

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