As weather forecasters already fall over themselves to speculate whether today could be the hottest day in Britain EVER, here are some useful tips for motorists to keep cool during the heat wave.
1. Keep yourself cool
Rule 237 of The Highway Code says: “Keep your vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness”.
At lower speeds, try opening a window to keep fresh air flowing through the vehicle. You can keep the air-conditioning on too, otherwise, the hot air will soon have the cabin scorching hot – but having a window ajar will stop the air drying out.
If you’re driving at higher speeds, such as on motorways, open windows will cause too much drag and increase your fuel consumption (not to mention the noise and distraction).
Leave it to the air-conditioning or, better still, the climate control system. This will turn the fan up and down, and alter the amount of heat added to the cooled condensed air, to maintain the cabin at a constant temperature.
Some systems even have light sensors, so they can tell when the sun is shining directly on the vehicle, and increase the air-conditioning a bit more to offset it…
3. Keep hydrated
The hotter it is, the quicker you will dehydrate, and the sooner you will lose concentration. If you are on a long drive, take a bottle of water with you.
This is particularly important if you are driving a climate controlled vehicle where you may not even notice the onset of dehydration.
4. Shades on
Wear a pair of sunglasses to avoid being dazzled, in particular by low evening sun. It is less of a factor in the summertime, but those commuting out of hours will still benefit from the safety boost.
Sun visors can only do so much and you can never predict when you’ll be caught out by the glare in a reflected windscreen or shop front.
5. Plan ahead
Network Rail has warned it will be imposing speed restrictions on some lines during the peak of the heatwave, so expect the risk of public transport chaos to force drivers onto the road.
It says this will be less of an issue for the morning rush hour, because conditions will still be cool. However, in the evening, things will be very different – and disruptions are inevitable.
Check traffic conditions before you leave, and, if necessary, find an alternative means of travel.
6. Check your vehicle
Your vehicle is more likely to overheat in hot weather, especially if you find yourself sitting in traffic, so check the water level accordingly.
While you’ve got the bonnet open, it is an appropriate time to top up the oil and washer fluid, and check your brake fluid level. When driving, keep an eye on the temperature gauge – if it is getting too hot, pull over where safe to do so and switch off the engine.
7. At your destination
If you are leaving children or pets in the vehicle whatsoever, leave the window open slightly, or the vehicle will heat up very quickly.
Consider a sunshade in the windscreen so the vehicle does not become uncomfortably hot when you return.
8. And after the heatwave?
Rule 237 of The Highway Code says: “…if it rains after a dry spell [the road surface] may become slippery. These conditions could affect your steering and braking.”
This is the UK and the weather can always be unpredictable. When the showers return, remember the roads will be more slippery than usual wet conditions.