Ireland is revelling in warm sunny days , but the change to this hot weather can pose extra challenges for motorists. Behind the wheel of a car drivers are never more than a careless moment away from danger, so staying focused 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 streets than usual. Be extra vigilant and drive slowly in residential areas.
Conor Faughnan, the AA’s 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 to keep the windscreen clean and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers.
For those suffering from hay fever due to the high pollen count, driving may be particularly challenging during this weather.
“If your hay fever is bad, it’s best to get someone else to do the driving,” Faughan says. “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 driving behaviour, he says making sure 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.”
High temperatures driving puts a heavy demand on all of your engine components. It is advisable to check the coolant and cooling system regularly to avoid overheating. Check engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to make sure that they are all at the recommended levels. And the AA says one of the most common reasons for its rescue call outs is the air con run off being mistaken as a water leak from the car.