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Motorists have been told how to drive during the extreme heatwaves covering Europe as soaring temperatures show no sign of slowing down. Motoring experts from StressFreeCarRental.com have revealed seven top tips to ensure drivers stay safe and comfortable when on the roads this summer.
Extreme temperatures in Europe
The high-pressure weather system has brought extreme temperatures of over 45C to parts of Europe, with countries like Italy, Spain and France sweltering in record-breaking heat waves. Greece has also seen its hottest July in 50 years, and now the high temperatures and dry conditions are triggering wildfires that are raging through Rhodes, forcing thousands to flee the island.
Heatwaves causing wildfires
The extreme heat waves that have hit Europe have created perfect conditions for spreading fires. This means a serious warning has been issued to drivers – with the danger that wildfires can suddenly block highways and streets. Motorists must prepare for what to do if faced with a blaze.
Heatwaves can cause countless other problems for motorists, including with wheel pressure, so drivers should check them in the morning when the air is cooler before hitting the roads. Driving through extreme temperatures means ensuring coolant is topped to the correct levels, preparing for potential wildfires and parking in a well-shaded area.
What do the experts say?
A spokesperson for StressFreeCarRental.com said: “With heatwaves continuing to sweep through Europe, many are predicting climate change is to blame and that these dangerously high temperatures could be the new normal. Motorists must prepare for how to drive in these extreme weather conditions and the issues and risks they can bring, such as wildfires.
“Driving in the summer brings about lots of challenges, but heatwaves intensify the usual summer issues drivers experience such as heat and restlessness. By ensuring you are on top of all your checks and you’ve thought ahead with the journey and planned for any problems it should make it comfortable and safe. Just like drivers must adapt driving styles for the winter months, the same should be done in summer to keep the roads safe.”
Heatwave driving tips
When cars are left in sunlight the heat can cause the tyre air to expand, increasing the pressure. Drivers must ensure that all tyres are checked on a morning, before being exposed to direct sunlight, which will reduce the risk of under, or over-inflated tyres that can cause problems such as blowouts, which can cause costly repairs.
Prepare for wildfires
As extremely high temperatures continue, wildfires are more likely to occur. Drivers must prepare for wildfires before taking to the roads as they can happen suddenly, and becoming trapped in vehicles is one of the leading causes of wildfire deaths because people wait too long.
The most important thing anyone can do is to swiftly follow initial evacuation warnings because wildfires move quickly and can trap people because they block roads, decrease visibility and cause traffic. Any motorist who finds themselves in a blaze should stay calm, turn away and head away from it, roll up windows and block air vents. If flames approach, park there is nothing that can fuel the flames, or behind a barrier from the flames such as a concrete wall. Do not leave the vehicle until the flames have passed and remain low to shield away from the heat.
Beware of low sun
The sun can often be very low and dangerous when driving in the summer, particularly in heatwaves, late at night and early in the morning. Using sun vizors will provide drivers with safer conditions as they concentrate on the road. Don’t be afraid to slow down to increase reaction time if something goes wrong- backing off from the car in front will also make it safer.
Keep an eye on the temperature gauge
Just like us humans, when cars get hot they need water to survive. On a hot day, coolant runs around the engine at a higher temperature, causing some parts of the engine to overheat. The key is to ensure there’s plenty of air around the engine, so keep an eye on your car’s temperature gauge.
Park in the shade
There’s nothing worse than getting in a car and not being able to touch the steering wheel or gear stick because it’s too hot. Drivers can combat this by parking in shaded areas as much as possible, or keeping these areas covered with material or a metallic sheet to reflect the sunlight and heat out of the car.
Top up on washer fluid
Ensuring vehicles are filled with washer fluid is always important, but even more so in the summer when there are lots of flies and insects about. If a driver doesn’t have any washer fluid, the windscreen could become extremely dirty, which can negatively impact vision.
Stock up on the usual summer essentials such as water and sunglasses. When it is hot, drivers will lose more fluids in sweat, causing dehydration, dizziness and tiredness and can increase the risk of a crash. Similarly, sunglasses protect the eyes while driving from the beaming sun and glare, making driving a lot safer on a sunny day.
To find out more about driving through extreme temperatures, head over to https://www.stressfreecarrental.com/.