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You may think that it’s winter where you have to take special care when driving – but summer throws up its own set of driving dangers too.

UK summer holidays mean more cars on the road at weekends: journeys will be longer, with more luggage, more passengers and more delays! Whether it’s a short journey or a longer one, follow the advice from Aviva on what to watch out for to make your trip safer and easier.

Whether you’re out on the road getting some extra practice in between your driving lessons or have just passed your test, here are some useful hints and tips to help you out whilst driving this summer.

DO make sure you have car breakdown cover.

DO travel with a good supply of cold drinks and snacks.

Keep your car well ventilated to prevent drowsiness – and take regular breaks!

DO plan your journey in advance and check for roadworks on your route.

Keep an up-to-date roadmap in the car.

Listen to local road reports using the RDS function on your car radio.

Keep a fully-charged mobile phone with you in case of breakdown.

If you’re driving overseas, make sure your car insurance covers you.

DO make sure your car is well serviced and in good shape for a long journey.

Check tyre pressure and oil are OK and make sure the fan or air-con is working.

Don’t forget to check the pressure of your spare tyre too!

Check the wiper blades for splits or damage before you travel.

Know how to replace a tyre if you have a puncture.

Keep a car fire extinguisher in the car – just in case it overheats.

DO keep lights clean front and rear. Your windscreen and headlights will pick up many dead bugs.

Make sure you keep windscreen and lights clean so you can see and be seen.

Keep a bottle of screenwash in your car.

DO keep your distance if you are towing a caravan, boat or trailer.

Check your motor insurance covers you to do so.

Know the speed limit if you are towing – and stick to it.

DON’T fill your fuel tank up to the brim – heat expansion could cause a fuel leak.

DON’T overload your car with luggage.

Make sure roof rack luggage is well secured – or buy a secure roofbox!

Watch out for the summer weather

The sun is at its brightest – don’t get dazzled, make sure you wear shades!

Thunderstorms and heavy downpours can start suddenly, slash visibility and leave roads awash.

  • Listen to local weather reports and slow down if the heavens open.
  • Braking distances double in the wet so keep your distance.

A short shower on a warm, dry day will leave the road slippery so keep a healthy distance from the vehicle in front so you can brake in time.

On especially hot days, road tarmac can melt. Be ready for sticky surfaces and a diversion if the police or Highways Agency closes the road.

Watch out for wildlife when summer driving

It’s a busy time for animals too: stay alert for rabbits, badgers, deer and foxes in the road – especially farm livestock and agricultural machinery.

NEVER leave your pets in the car on a hot day.

  • Park in the shade, leave them with a window open and a bowl of water.
  • If you cannot park in the shade, always take your pet with you.

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