Top tips for staying safe on the road this summer

By Julia Freeman

Lana Del Ray may have sung about Summertime Sadness in 2012, but at Protyre we’re concerned with summertime safety. We’ve told you before how to get your vehicle summer-driving ready, but how do you keep your car safe during the longer days of the summer months?


It’s no secret that the weather in the UK is unpredictable at best. Heatwaves might not be an everyday occurrence, but when one does hit it tends to be followed by heavy rain and often even thunder and lightning. Many drivers don’t know or realise that the summer weather can be just as hard-wearing on their cars as the winter chill can be. With 2021 seeing a rise in the number of “staycation” holidays, here are some quick and easy things that you can do/watch out for to keep your car safe the whole summer long.

Switch from winter tyres to summer tyres

Winter tyres are perfectly safe to have on your car year-round, but there are good reasons for changing to summer tyres once the weather warms up. Winter tyres may offer better grip that works in all seasons, but they will also be noisier and consume more fuel.

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Winter tyres are made from a rubber compound especially designed to work best in temperatures of 7 °C or colder, however running a set of winter tyres throughout the year will cause the tyre to wear quicker on the warm tarmac, making them a false economy. In fact, it’s estimated that the service life of winter tyres that get used during the summer is reduced by as much as 60%.


Regularly check your tyre’s overall condition

You know the phrase – prior preparation prevents poor performance. Tyres are no different and for a tyre to perform at its best it needs to be in its best condition. A tyre with a crack or two may be fine for nipping to the shops and back but loading the car up with family and luggage to go on the annual holiday may be the final straw. Conducting proper tyre checks could be the difference between a blow out or a safe journey for you and your passengers.
Worn tread and improperly inflated tyres are the main causes of tyre-related road accidents, so before heading off on a long journey you should ensure that your car has plenty of tread and has the correct tyre pressures according to your vehicle handbook. You should also regularly check the tyres for any signs of cracks, bulges, and other damage.
Should you have any questions about this, or if you would rather one of our qualified professionals take a look at your tyres, click the button below to book a free tyre check today.

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Driving style and road surfaces in changing weather

For every challenge that driving during the summer heat can bring, driving during the summer rain brings its own set of challenges. The rain itself brings the risk of aquaplaning, so it’s vital that your tyres have enough tread to dispel the water as well as also being correctly inflated to make the maximum contact with the road.
Any dry dust or mud that has made its way onto the roads during dry spells turns the road into a dangerously slippery surface once the rain sets in, so you should always be vigilant and ready to adjust your driving style based on the weather.

Keep your windscreen clean

Windscreens can get very dirty in summer; the dry weather means more dust and dry mud is in the air as well as the increased number of bugs flying around, some of which don’t quite make it out of the way. A dirty windscreen can enhance and amplify sun glare and significantly reduce road visibility. To reduce the effect of glare and ensure full visibility, replace worn or damaged windscreen wipers and keep your windscreen nice and clean.


Top up your fluids

Your cars fluids should be regularly checked and topped up all year round – they are likely to run out in the winter as easily as they can in the summer – however there are some that do require a little more attention in the heat.
To stick with the theme of keeping your windscreen clean, topping up your washer fluid is a big part of the job. With the increased levels of insects and dust in the air, adequate levels of washer fluid will work nicely with your fresh windscreen wipers to tackle any dirt that may settle on the glass.
Car engines get extremely hot in warm weather – particularly if you are unfortunate enough to get caught in standstill traffic – and the heat can aggravate cooling systems. As such, it is important to check the coolant levels regularly to keep your engine ticking over.

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Hydration is key

Keeping safe when driving during the summer isn’t just about looking after your vehicle – self-care is also incredibly important. It’s not just the car that should have its fluids topped up; always ensure you have plenty of water around and that you are well hydrated, particularly on warmer days and definitely during a heatwave.
Dehydration not only affects your blood volume, causing headaches and dizziness, but it can also affect your concentration levels, cause muscle cramping, and hinder your co-ordination giving you a slower reaction time.


In a study by Loughborough University, it was found that drivers made twice as many driving errors when mildly dehydrated compared to when they were well hydrated – these errors included drifting out of lane and braking too early or too late. The study found that dehydration had an affect similar to that of drink driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% (the current UK legal driving limit), or while sleep deprived.
Drinking more water may cause you to need to stop at service stations for bathroom breaks more frequently, but this could potentially alleviate two issues in one go – a quick 20 minute stop can help battle any fatigue and tiredness that may be starting to sink in turn helping to keep you awake, aware, and alert.

Don’t let allergies get in the way

It’s thought that as many as 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from hay fever. The sneezing alone can be problematic when trying to drive (never mind the runny nose and itchy eyes), but did you know some antihistamine tablets can cause side effects that could affect your driving, including drowsiness and blurred vision? It’s always best to read the information booklet in the packaging to check that your hay fever medication isn’t putting you, your passengers, and other road users at risk.
If you do suffer from hay fever, here are some tips to help whilst driving:

  • close windows and air vents to reduce pollen grains in the car

  • clean the interior of the cars often, wiping any surfaces and hoovering mats, carpets, and upholstery

  • regularly change the filters in your car’s ventilation system

  • slow down if you feel a sneeze coming on – sneezing whilst driving at 70mph can cause you to lose vision for as much as 100m

Other common summer issues to watch out for

When on holiday it’s not uncommon to use your car to explore the local area or visit various tourist sites nearby. This kind of stop-start activity can be quite hardwearing on your car’s battery.

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As well as this, if you have the whole family in the car with their electrical devices plugged in, a greater demand is placed on both the battery and the alternator – this can be especially damaging if you are caught in slow-moving traffic as the car’s electrical system may not be able to generate enough power to recharge what’s been drained from the battery. Slow traffic also places more strain on the clutch, which could already be feeling the pressure if you are towing anything.

Free checks at Protyre

At Protyre, we can take the worry out of motoring for you with our range of free vehicle checks. From steering to the exhaust, and everything in between, our free checks can help to diagnose an issue before it becomes a problem. All of our staff are fully trained and qualified and will offer you impartial and honest advice. Simply click the button below to see our full range of free vehicle health checks, or contact your local Protyre today to get your car booked in.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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