Driving in hot weather: 5 tips for students

It’s finally summer and undoubtedly you’re already planning out the next three months that will be filled with sun, sea and copious amounts of cocktails (non-alcoholic, of course…). Whether you’re finishing up your first year, or your entire university career, it’s time to take a well-earned rest. After all, Netflix isn’t going to watch itself!

But before you can fully unwind, you need to make it home safe and sound. From checking your tyres are roadworthy to carrying all of the car essentials you need, RAC have helped us pull together five tips to keep you safe when driving home this summer.

1. Fluids

It’s important to make sure you’ve topped up the coolant and engine oil in your car. This will help to prevent overheating, which is a common cause of breakdowns when driving in very hot weather. Switching off the engine while in a traffic jam (if it’s safe to do so) will also help prevent overheating.

2. Tyres

As you should at any time of year, make sure your tyres are pumped to the right pressure before you leave, including the spare if you have one.

Can you drive winter tyres in summer?

Winter tyres are designed to drive on roads that are covered in ice, snow and water, which means they probably aren’t the best option for the summer months. When it comes to driving on dry roads, the malleability of winter tyres means they won’t provide you with the quick responsiveness that you expect from summer tyres. So, while winter tyres are ideal for increased grip in colder conditions, they could let you down when driving during the summer.

3. Keys

One of the most common callouts the RAC receives in the summer is for keys being locked in cars. It may sound like obvious advice, but we’ve all accidentally misplaced our keys at one time or another – so make sure you take the spare set with you when you head off on your holiday! Alternatively, you could look into adding car key cover to your car insurance policy.

4. Keep cool

It’s important to keep your car’s cooling system checked, as a leaking cooling system or inoperative cooling fan could cause the vehicle to overheat and cause damage to the engine. The first sign of cooling system problems is usually the temperature gauge indicating an engine running consistently warmer or cooler than normal.

5. The essentials

Whether you’re driving home from uni or heading on a long road trip, it’s always wise to pack car essentials for comfort, safety, entertainment – and, if worst comes to worst, a breakdown.

What should I keep in my car?

The RAC suggests keeping the following items in your car in case of vehicle-related problems:

  • A first aid kit
  • A warning triangle
  • A high-visibility vest/jacket
  • A fire extinguisher
  • An empty fuel can
  • Additional engine oil and water (for topping up)
  • A light bulb kit
  • An up-to-date road map or sat nav system
  • An in-car mobile phone charger

This post was contributed to by RAC. RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists and is committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

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