How to stay cool (and safe) in your car during the heat wave

A woman sitting on a steering wheel wiping her forehead in the heat

That moment when all you want is a cool pool but you have to drive to work/visit family/pick up a package that didn’t get delivered (Image: Getty

Getting into a hot car in a heat wave is not one of life’s most pleasant sensations: it’s a lot like walking into a sauna with all your clothes on.

Most of us immediately open all the doors and try to get some air circulating, but when the outside air is 35°C, or even hotter, that is ultimately not going to make your car a relaxing oasis.

Even after you start driving, that doesn’t stop your problems as the car can overheat or have trouble on the road due to temperature.

The breakdown company, AA, has provided some tips to make driving safer and more comfortable in the heat, and high on the list includes keeping enough water in the car, which can ensure you don’t get dehydrated if you gets stuck in traffic. or break

Mark Born of the AA Driving School Instructor Training Academy said hot weather makes cars more prone to overheating, so people need to know the basics of how to deal with this situation.

Counterintuitively, people should turn down the air conditioning and turn up the heat if the engine appears to be overheating.

The weather forecast for today was sultry (Image: Met Office)

This is because the air conditioner uses the car’s energy and the heater draws hot air from the engine area, helping to cool it down.

You may see a warning light or the temperature gauge may be high to alert you that the engine is too hot.

People are also advised not to raise the hood immediately, as the hot air and steam underneath can be dangerous. Instead, wait at least 15 minutes before trying to add coolant, if you have it.

Mr Born added more ways to prepare for driving in the heat: ‘Make sure you have enough fuel for the journey.

“Electric vehicle drivers need to make sure they have enough charge to handle unexpected queues with the air conditioning on full blast.

“If you’re planning a route with charging or rest stops, be sure to check for traffic incidents before you leave to avoid delays.”

Something that many of us have asked ourselves is if it is better to cool off with the windows open or using the air conditioning.

And apparently, when it comes to fuel or power consumption, it’s actually better to use air conditioning to cool down the car if you’re driving fast.

This is because the wind resistance created by open windows will use more gas than the air conditioner.

However, if you’re just driving around town, having the windows open should use less fuel.

It’s just not the weather to drive…unless you have a convertible. Photo shows Weymouth beach yesterday when temperatures in England hit 30C (Image: Getty)

The AA also said people should dress appropriately when driving to avoid getting too hot.

Although it is legal to drive barefoot, it is not recommended as you must be able to operate the pedals safely.

Sweaty feet can slip on them and not grip them properly or push them down with the right amount of pressure.

Light colored clothing that is not too thick may be more comfortable in the heat.

People can also consider freezing bottles of water to take with them, which will stay colder longer, even when melted.

“Passengers can press the bottle against their wrists or forehead,” the AA said.

They also recommended keeping sealed ice packs or damp cloths in the car to keep them a few inches from the air vents, making air conditioning instant.

Paper fans can be stored in the glove box for when needed, while you can spray water on the steering wheel and let it evaporate to help cool it down before you go.

“If you must park in the sun, place a windshield sunshade on your dash to reflect the sun’s heat and lower the window shades,” the AA added.

They said you can also cover the steering wheel with a dish towel or spare cloth to keep it from getting even hotter, while exposed metal on seats that get really hot, like seat belt buckles and car accessories. child car seat harness, can also be covered. .

Of course, you should never leave children or pets alone in a hot car.

Every year there are stories of dogs dying while being left in vehicles, which can act like greenhouses and get dangerously hot in no time, even if it’s not too hot outside.

After half an hour at 21°C, the temperature inside a car can reach over 40°C.

If you see a child or dog in distress in a hot car, the official advice is to call 999 immediately and ask for the police who can give you further advice.

Also remember that car windows don’t block UV rays, so you may want to pack sunscreen as well.

This week’s weather will be so hot that sand spreaders are ready to spread a light layer of sand on roads, which can get so hot the asphalt melts.

The areas most likely to be affected are those with older road surfaces, in rural areas, and facing south.

The sand is said to absorb excess bitumen making the surface easier to drive on.

Any motorist who finds tar stuck to their tires is advised to wash it off with warm, soapy water.

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