It’s fair to say the weather has been somewhat variable this summer, swinging between torrential rain to incredible heatwave and back again! Now we’re approaching September, we’ve been lucky enough to experience another UK heatwave (which makes an interesting change from our most recent post about driving through floods!). So, it seems as good a time as any to discuss our top tips for driving your van in hot weather. If you’re in the market for new van deals, you could find it helpful if we experience another unexpected heatwave next month!
1. Start each day by giving your van a quick once-over
Hot weather can have a variety of effects on your van (especially in a heatwave like this one), ranging from the engine and electrics all the way down to its tyres. Happily, you can catch many potential issues fairly early on if you give your van a brief inspection each morning. Your tyre pressure is a good one to check first (we’ll get onto the specifics of that in a moment), and your fluid levels should be very next on the list. Brake fluid levels, windscreen wiper fluid and radiator coolant are all vital to keep in good supply, especially since the latter is so useful in preventing your engine from overheating.
If it’s been out in the morning sunshine for a few hours, it’s worth moving it to the shade for a short while to allow everything to cool down. The battery, for example, is one critical component that can fail if it gets too hot!
2. Watch the pressure in your tyres
Air expands in heat, so you should regularly check your tyres if you’re planning on any particularly long or frequent journeys. Driving on motorways involves doing high speeds on hot tarmac – and coupled with high ambient temperatures, this can significantly raise the pressure of your tyres. If the air inside them expands too much and the pressure gets too high, you could be in danger of a blowout.
To help prevent this, it’s a good plan to check the tyres once every two hours (or once every 100 miles) when driving on hot weather. Keep a tyre gauge with you too, so you can accurately note their pressure. Another quick tip – if they’re overinflated, resist the temptation to let air out when they’re still hot, otherwise it could end up being too low when the tyres cool off.
3. Don’t get dazzled by glare
It’s not a problem that most UK van drivers have to worry about, given our country’s track record for weather throughout the rest of the year, but in the summer it can be all too easy to find yourself dazzled by reflected rays of sunlight (or even direct sunshine). It’s a momentary distraction that can potentially lead to collisions. To avoid it, keep your windscreen clean and make sure to clean or replace any worn or damaged windscreen wipers, so you can keep your vision clear. A clean pair of sunglasses can also help, but take care to steer clear of lenses that automatically darken in strong sunlight.
4. Take care to stay alert at the wheel
Drowsiness is another common year-round problem, but it’s especially noteworthy in summer, as warmer temperatures can increasingly sap your energy on longer journeys. To make sure you and your staff stay wide awake, it’s worth imposing (or taking) a compulsory 20 minute break every three hours. Expert advice says it’s better to take short, frequent breaks as opposed to one long one. When driving, it also helps to ventilate the van by opening a window slightly, especially if you don’t have in-built air conditioning.
Hay fever will also be a consideration for some drivers, as they’ll have to ensure any medication they take won’t leave them feeling too drowsy to drive. If it does, it’s worth finding alternative transport arrangements. No job is worth the risk to your health!
You may find, of course, that a particularly well-worn van finds it tough to stand up to the strain of summer. If that’s the case for your transport, no worries – we’ve got plenty of cheap van deals for you right here at Van Discount! You’ll find models from the likes of leading manufacturers such as Toyota, Citroen and Renault – and of course, if you have any questions or need any advice, feel free to give us a call on 01282 872 530. We’re here to help!