By Jeremy Muscat,
20 June 2017
Hiring a car is a great way to get to the parts of your holiday destination that tourists wouldn’t normally see. Some of the ‘hidden gems’ that only locals know about because it’s not on the bus route or tourist maps can end up being holiday highlights that you talk about for years to come.
Driving in hot weather conditions requires just as much planning and preparation as in cold conditions. Ask anyone that lives in extreme heat and they’ll confirm that there’s just as many dangers involved in high-temperature driving as extreme cold.
For the most part, your vehicle will have been designed to perform in extremes of weather. As long as it’s been well maintained, you should have no problems during your ‘mercury-busting’ trip. Quick checks you can make before you set off include a visual inspection the coolant levels under the bonnet and checking the gauges and needles on the dashboard. If anything looks untoward, raise the concern with the rental company before you set off.
The biggest danger when driving in extreme heat is what happens if your vehicle breaks down. Your hire provider should make sure you know what to do if the car breaks down, but there are a few things you can do to best prepare so that you are ready should the worst happen.
- Make sure you’ve got sunscreen – This should be an obvious point in a hot country, but make sure you’ve got good sunscreen. It should have a high factor rating with good UVA protection and be IN DATE. Extreme sunburn cause blistering of the skin, high temperature, dizziness and nausea. Good quality sunglasses and hats are also a must.
- Charge your mobile (and take a charger) – Being able to contact the emergency services or hire company in the event of a breakdown or accident is all the more important when you’re at the side of the road and it’s baking hot outside. Charge your mobile before you leave and take a charger with you if you can. It’s also worth periodically checking your signal strength so that you know where you were when you were last connected.
- Keep an eye on the fuel gauge – If you’re heading out into the wild and beyond, chances are the next petrol station is a while down the road. We’ve all played ‘petrol station roulette’ when you leave it as long as you dare on the red light, but why gamble with your safety in the heat? In an unfamiliar car you don’t know how quickly that fuel needle will drop after half-way.
- Keep refreshments in the car – Before you set off for your journey, grab a few bottles of water. Given most foreign countries don’t drink tap water, you’ll find plenty of cases of water at the petrol station. Buy one, put it in the cool boot. Not only will you save money compared to buying at the expensive tourist hot-spots, if you end up stranded and miles from help, at least you won’t be dehydrated.
- Check the tyres – Aside from checking for damage that could cause a puncture, check the tyre pressures. Under-inflated tyres retain heat far more than correctly inflated tyres and are more likely to blow. In extreme conditions (+50c) hot weather tyres may be required.
There’s plenty of online articles written by professional hot-weather drivers that are a short web-search away. If you’ve got any more helpful hints for summer-time driving, why not email us at firstname.lastname@example.org