Driving in Hot Weather

Driving in the sun can be the some of the best - and worst - driving conditions. We're here to help you stay safe in the summer heat.

Driving when the sun is shining and the temperature is warm is one of the best times to be out on the road. Weather is such a mood booster and makes everything that little bit better.

There's nothing worse than driving when the rain is lashing down and the wind is whipping up all around you, particularly on the motorway or when you're in slow-moving traffic and visibility is hard to come by.

Winding down your window, with your music on full blast gives you that feel-good feeling, and you need to make the most of it now, as before we know it, it'll be autumn. 

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However, while summer driving is fun and should be enjoyed, it can also be dangerous, and there are several things that you should consider before setting off in the car on a nice day.

We certainly don't want to be killjoys, especially as we've barely had a summer this year due to all of the rain, but we just want to make sure you stay safe when in your motor so you can enjoy the last six weeks of summer.


Over time, tyres wear down, and you risk punctures when you drive over uneven ground. Given the number of potholes in this country, it's likely your motor may succumb to tyre issues at some stage.

In hot weather, your tyre pressure expands, which makes it more at risk of damage. You should assess your tyres regularly, especially before going on a long journey in the height of summer.


While temperatures in the UK rarely get high enough to cause any damage to your car's paintwork, you should consider parking in shaded areas when possible to keep your car cool for when you arrive back to it.

If a bird defecates onto your car and you don't clear it off quickly enough, the sun could essentially bake it into your vehicle, causing potential damage as and when you come to remove it.


Your car's battery contains water, which is at risk of evaporating in high temperatures. If this starts to happen, your battery has to work harder to help run your car and can put too much pressure on the engine, causing your car to break down.


Batteries also help to operate things like your air conditioning, windows and convertible roofs, so if you use any of these features, try to avoid using them all at the same time or in quick succession.

Air conditioning

It's unlikely that most motorists will use their air conditioning at any point other than during the summer months, simply because it's not warm enough to use it all year round.

However, that does mean that there could be long periods of time that you are not using it, which could cause you problems when you suddenly start using it consistently.

Ahead of the summer months, try to book a car service and get your air conditioning reviewed by an expert. If you notice that the air conditioning emits a strange sound or smell when you use it, it could mean it needs to be looked at.


During the warmest days, try to keep an eye on your coolant levels, as this will help keep the engine cool and at peak condition. It can be more of an issue when travelling at slower speeds or stuck in traffic, as there's less air circulating through the fan at the front of the car.

Engine oil

Engine oil can get hot and thinner in high temperatures, meaning that your car may not be as lubricated as it needs to be, which can cause friction to the engine and subsequent breakdown risks.

Safe driving

Regardless of the temperature outside, you should always drive safely and stick to the speed limit. Not only do you risk endangering other road users and pedestrians, but yourself and your passengers.

However, it can be even more dangerous in the heat, especially if have to break sharply or accelerate too quickly, as this will put unnecessary added strain on the engine.

If you encounter a period of rainfall after a long, hot spell, road conditions can be extra slippery, as the tarmac has gone from warm to cool in a short space of time.

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Your fuel levels can drop faster than normal in warmer conditions, so the fuel gauge in your car may not be completely accurate. If you are going on a longer journey, be prepared to fill up and keep on top of your fuel levels.

The worst thing that could happen is if you broke down in scorching conditions and were stranded at the side of a busy road with no cover from the sun.


To avoid drowsiness and to generally make yourself more comfortable, you should keep your vehicle ventilated at all times. Whether that's from an open window, air conditioning, or portable fan, you should always ensure you have some fresh air within.

If you're taking a long car journey, try to stop for regular breaks and keep yourself hydrated.


Should you drive during a heatwave?

If you can avoid driving when the heat is at its highest that day, you should try to do so. Delaying your journey until it's cooler and the sun has gone down could make it more comfortable for you. That said, there is no rules against driving during a heatwave, but just follow the correct procedures to keep yourself safe.

Can I be affected by the sun while driving?

Glare from the sun could affect your vision, so try to wear sunglasses or a cap to keep the sun from out of your eyes. You should also ensure your windscreen is clean to help your overall visibility. You should also wear suncream and keep hydrated to avoid sun stroke and drowsiness.