Motorists are being advised of inherent driving dangers during the current heatwave
Although a week of sunshine is most definitely welcomed, the change in weather can pose extra challenges for motorists. Behind the wheel of a car you are never more than a careless moment away from danger, so staying focussed on your driving on hot days is of utmost importance.
High temperatures can result in an increase in stress levels while driving as there are more pedestrians on the street than usual. Be extra vigilant and drive slowly in residential areas.
Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs says “Harsh sunlight and glare can make it difficult to see vulnerable road users. We know that a week like this will see lots of kids out and about, and you never know when a child could run out on the street after a football. We also see more cyclists taking to the roads and a general increase in traffic volumes. It all adds to the danger so the advice is as always to slow down and expect the unexpected.”
Other ways to reduce the risk of glare is by keeping your windscreen clean and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers.
For those suffering from with hay fever due to the high pollen count, you may find driving particularly challenging during this weather. Faughnan says “If your hay fever is bad, it’s best to get someone else to do the driving. But if you must get behind the wheel, close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car and wear wraparound sunglasses to reduce eye irritation. Make sure any medication you’re taking doesn’t cause drowsiness and clean mats and carpets regularly to get rid of dust.”
As well as paying extra attention to your own driving behaviour, making sure that your tyres and engine are in good nick is important to ensure safe driving during the summer months. If your tyres are already damaged or they’re at the wrong pressure, the higher temperatures will increase the risk of a blowout. “If tyres are in poor condition then this sort of weather will really test them. Make sure you check tyres regularly, for condition and pressures, and increase pressures to suit extra loads” says Faughnan.
According to the AA Rescue team, more breakdowns occur in the Dublin region around beaches and lakes, which can turn a relaxing summers evening into a disaster. There is also a tendency for the number of breakdowns to increase in areas such as the sunny south east and west. One of the most common reasons for an AA Rescue call out is the air con run off being mistaken as a water leak from the car.
High temperatures driving puts a heavy demand on all of your engine components. It’s advisable to check the coolant and cooling system regularly to avoid overheating. Check your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to make sure that they’re all at the recommended levels.