The summer months can be just as challenging as winter months for drivers. This guide provides advice on how you can have a stress-free summer of driving and how to reduce the risk of breakdowns
Drivers should be more aware of motorcyclists, caravans and horse riders who are on the roads more commonly in the summer months.
Sun glare can cause many accidents, particularly at dawn or dusk.
• Keep a clean and unscratched pair of sunglasses handy
• Avoid lenses which darken in strong sunlight. The windscreen filters out UV light so the glasses will only change slowly
• Clean the windscreen regularly, inside and out, to remove smears which catch sunlight and impair vision
• Renew worn or damaged wiper blades
To avoid fatigue while driving take the following steps:
• Break up a journey over three hours with a 20 minute break
• On longer journeys take a break every two hours
• Frequent short stops (of at least 20 minutes) are better than one long stop
• Avoid heavy meals and alcohol before driving
• Try to counter sleepiness by either taking a short nap or drinking strong coffee
• Remember that it’s illegal to stop on the motorway hard shoulder, except in an emergency
If you are driving in the country, you are likely to encounter tractors along the way. Tractor drivers often have soundproofed cabs or wear ear protectors, so they may not hear approaching cars. They also don’t have to be fitted with brake or indicator lights unless used at night. So in daylight, be prepared for them to stop or turn without warning.
Winter tyres are not suited to year-round use. Summer tyres will give better performance - when temperatures are higher and roads are dry. So you’ll need two sets of tyres if you’re going to choose specialist tyres for winter.
If you are a caravan owner, be aware of the following:
• If your caravan has been parked for the winter months, make sure you check your tyres and wheel bearings before embarking on any trips
• Your caravan’s weight, loaded up with everything you are going to take on holiday, should not be more than 85% of the car’s weight with nothing loaded in the car, other than the driver Most car manufacturers tell you the maximum weight a car can tow
• To find out the amount you can carry in the caravan, look for the payload allowance in the handbook It’s very easy to accidentally exceed the weight allowance for a caravan This may cause premature tyre failure and damage the running gear (chassis, brakes, axles and so on), and it’s illegal too
• You’ll need extending mirrors attached to your tow car so you can see past the caravan you’re towing
• Caravans may travel at up to 50 mph on single carriageway roads and 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways
• The law says you can’t leave a vehicle or out-fit where it may cause an obstruction A trailer separated from the towing vehicle must be securely braked or chocked to prevent movement After dark, a trailer parked on a road must be illuminated, which normally means keeping the towing vehicle attached to supply power Because lay-bys are part of the highway, you can’t stop overnight
If you must drive, make sure you are prepared for the conditions
If you do get into trouble:
• Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Instead, stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call
• On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone, because it will help the breakdown/emergency services to locate you easily. If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers on the marker posts positioned at the side of the hard shoulder
• Abandoned vehicles can hold up rescue vehicles and snowploughs, so to ensure that the road is cleared as quickly as possible, stay with your vehicle until help arrives
• If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you clearly
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL: 0344 879 6333
OR CONTACT THE VOLVO CAR BUSINESS CENTRE
ON 0345 600 4027