Being comfortable when driving is essential to staying safe on the roads, not because we want to feel particularly relaxed when we drive, but if we feel uncomfortable then the situation itself can lead to distractions, in much the same was as sitting on a hard or lumpy surface might take our attention away.

Similarly, if we start to feel too warm or overheat, that can lead to fatigue, which in turn can lead to a potentially deadly situation when driving.

Firstly, keeping the car cool before we enter it is the best course of initial action. Park your vehicle in the garage if you have one or in the shade, perhaps under a tree or in the shadow of a building. Remember though, the sun moves and so does the shadow, so plan the position of your parked car based on where the most effective shadows will be cast. You also need to be aware that parking directly under trees can result in deposits from birds above or even the sap of the tree itself. This can be particularly problematic if it lands on the windows, so make sure they are clear and clean before you drive.

You can use reflective screens on your windows when the vehicle is parked to reduce the build-up of heat inside. It is quite common for the interior temperature to reach 10 degrees more than the outside very quickly. This is also the problem of leaving dogs, and humans for that matter, inside vehicles. You can also buy shades for the side windows, some stick on the glass on the inside, or you can use a cloth to prevent the sun´s rays from entering. Remember to remove these from the front windows before you drive though.

Opening the windows and even the doors of the vehicle for a few minutes before you are planning to drive will reduce the internal temperature. Remember not to hinder any other road users though by leaving your doors open in the potential path of traffic or pedestrians.

Many modern vehicles are equipped with air conditioning or climate control, both of which serve to keep the inside temperature of the vehicle at a more comfortable level. This should be used to gradually reduce the temperature initially as sudden changes can pose other problems, not least whilst our body adjusts. You should also keep your air conditioning checked and gassed to ensure optimum performance, and have your filters checked on a regular basis. Our friends at Autos Direct in San Miguel can do this for you if you wish, contact them for more details.

Finally, avoiding driving at the hottest time of the day is always recommended. It is also recommended however that you should try to avoid driving during sunrise and sunset, largely because of the position of the sun which can cause extreme glare and dazzle us, which can render us temporarily blind, which is never a good situation to find yourself in when driving. If you do find yourself blinded by the sun, try to bring your vehicle to a gradual halt in a safe position. Sudden movements are very dangerous, and so gentleness is key in such a situation.

Wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing, but always appropriate footwear, ensure you plan to stop for frequent breaks and keep yourself topped up with water.

Above all, whatever action you take, always remain calm and alert, it is easier for tempers to become frayed with the heat and incidents of “road rage” to increase. Keep cool, relaxed and alert, be patient of other drivers who may not be as used to the roads as you are, and stay safe in the summer sun.

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