When most people picture hazardous weather conditions in their head, they tend to think of winter driving or stormy, wet weather. However, bright, sunny days can create a false sense of security, and with more drivers on the roads during the summer holiday season, as well as more cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders, the road risks are definitely up.
Black box car insurance from Coverbox is a useful way to keep a check on your driving habits so that you can make sure you're staying safe and legal at all times, but here are a few summer driving tips so that you enjoy your summer driving accident-free.
Keep your cool
Is getting into your car on a hot day like stepping into an oven? Taking measures to prevent your car from overheating will help prevent you from overheating while you drive. A windshield sun shade – which sort of looks like sunglasses for your car – can stop the sun rays from turning your vehicle into a temporary sauna and whenever possible, try to park in the shade – it's much better than leaving your car in the baking hot sun.
As for when you're moving, air con is an obvious saviour. But before you turn up your air con to full blast, remember that doing so will increase your fuel consumption. Find out how to use your air-con wisely and save money on fuel. All in all though, being cool in your car can help you to stay alert, so do whatever you need to on a hot day – heat exhaustion can be a killer.
And, of course, you need to be aware how heat is affecting you passengers. Babies and pets should never be left in a hot car.
In 2015, a study that suggested driving while dehydrated was just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol, with drivers more prone to making potentially risky mistakes if they had only drunk a small amount of water.
This summer driving tip is a no-brainer: make sure you've drunk enough water before setting off and also have a water bottle available so that you can take frequent sips (when it's safe to do so, that is). Pull over in a safe spot to take a break if you need to.
Flip-flops – great for the beach, not so good for driving
There is no law in the UK that forbids any particular type of footwear, or no footwear at all, for driving purposes. However, some types of shoes are definitely safer than others, as they give you better control over the pedals.
When it comes to safe footwear in your car, you shouldn't be driving in anything with a sole thicker than 10mm, with a sole that is too soft or flimsy, and that does not provide enough grip on the pedals. This means that flip-flops, while they may be great for keeping your feet cool, are not a safe option. What's more, the soles of loose flip-flops are also prone to getting stuck under the pedals which may be a problem if you need to brake suddenly.
And on the subject of driving barefoot, the Driving Standards Agency says that "suitable shoes are particularly important behind the wheel. We would not recommend driving barefoot because you don't have the same braking force with bare feet as you do with shoes on."
The bottom line: flip-flops may be great for when you reach your destination, but when you're about to drive off, it's strongly recommended that you change into more appropriate shoes.
Stay aware of allergies
Suffering from hay fever can be a nuisance, but if your symptoms flare up while driving, it can be dangerous distraction.
Certain hay fever medications can also be a problem , as some are known to cause drowsiness and possibly blurred vision. If you take a hay fever remedy, always read the information leaflet to check for side effects or ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it will affect your ability to drive. Choose a non-drowsy option of hay fever medication if you're planning to drive.
Pollen will get into your car not only through the open windows, but through the air inlet vents, so if you're a sufferer, the air-con can be a good way to help on summer drives. If your symptoms are particularly bad, the best idea is not to drive at all.
Keep summer driving safe
The most important thing is to stay safe, have fun, and make the most of sunny days. Knowing Britain's luck, though the sunny weather won't last long.
Do you have any tips for summer driving? Let us know your thoughts by tweeting us @Coverbox using the hashtag #SummerDrivingTips