July 18, 2022

A Bettersafe Guide to Surviving and Thriving in a Hot Car This Heatwave

Soaring temperatures on thermometer

With the UK expected to be hit with record breaking 42°C heat, meaning potential Amber and Red weather warnings, driving in this temperature can be extremely damaging to both yourself and your car.

Here are Bettersafe’s top tips for surviving in a hot car this summer as well as how to cool down your car.

How to quickly cool down YOUR car!

1. ’Fan’ the car

Provided you’re not worried about looking a bit weird ‘fanning’ the interior of your car is a key step to cooling the temperature of your car and getting the heat out.

When you get to your car open both the windows on the passenger side and then proceed to ‘fan’ the car by swinging the driver’s door back and forth. If your car has a sunroof, keep it shut if you’re parked in the sunlight.

2. Correctly switch on the air-con

This may be an obvious one, but many people just switch on their air-con and hope for the best. To be able to get the most from your air-con you should:
Start the engine and turn your air conditioning onto its coldest setting. If your car has the option select the ‘external’ setting (more commonly known as the symbol with an arrow entering the car), rather than the ‘recalculation’ (more commonly known as the circular arrow).
This is because the outside air at this point will be a lot cooler than the inside.
Top-tip: Use the lower vents! Heat rises, so blast cold air into the footwells to drive hot air up and out of the car.

3. Switch to the ‘Circular arrow’ and close all windows

Once your air-con is blowing constant cold air close all the windows and switch to recirculated air. Open all remaining vents and adjust as you see fit.
If you are lucky enough to have a more advanced ‘climate control air-conditioning’ system set and maintain a constant temperature that is optimal for yourself and passengers.

How to survive a hot car journey

1. Plan your journey

Check and plan your route around traffic reports, meaning you spend less time in the car with the sun beaming down on you.

Top Tip: If possible start your journey early in the morning or late in the evening as the sun won’t be at its highest, hottest, point.

2. Pick the right footwear

Is it safe or legal to drive in Flip-Flops? Even though there is no explicit law that bans driving in flip-flops, highway code 97 states that it’s important that footwear does not prevent you from using controls in the correct manner.

Our experts at Bettersafe, recommend that you use suitable driving shoes that don’t impact your driving. Safety is always more important than convenience or fashion.

3. Avoiding the sun glare

Rule 237 of the Highway Code states that drivers who are dazzled by sunlight need to slow down or pull over.

Apart from the perk of looking ‘cool’ a pair of sunglasses or sun visor allows for more comfortable driving. That’s why we recommend investing in a decent pair of sunglasses, and in some cases prescription sunglasses, to maximise your ability to see clearly and not be affected by glare.

Top Tip: Even though they can be more expensive we recommend ‘polarised lenses’ to reduce glare.

4. Do a quick maintenance check

Just like humans struggle in extreme heat, so does your car. That’s why at Bettersafe we always recommend doing a quick maintenance check before your long journey. So make sure that your oil, coolant and screen wash levels are correct.

It’s also a good practice to check that your tyres are suitable for driving in this hot weather. Tyres are prone to wearing out faster and losing grip if they're not designed for high temperatures.

In case anything unexpected happens on your journey, Bettersafe has you covered with our Roadside Assistance. Get your quote today here.

5. How to keep your car cool when parked

Ideally we would want you to park in shaded areas however that is not always possible.

Because this is not always possible we recommend using ‘car sunshades’ as they can make a difference and reduce car temperature by up to 50%, so it may be worth investing in one. The most common are the reflective ones for the windscreen, as this is usually the largest window in the car.

For obvious reasons they're hugely popular in Spain and Greece. You pop them on top of the dashboard up against the inside of the windscreen. They might spoil the aesthetic of your shiny pride and joy a little but have to be worth considering for that level of heat reduction on hot days. You can also get ones that can be used whilst driving, on the passenger windows, to protect your children from UV rays.

6. Avoid road rage

Just like the UK temperatures rising, so can tempers. It is recommended to have a good sleep before travelling and avoiding busy roads when you can to avoid stress.

Top Tip: Avoid and ease road rage and stress by taking the recommended rest.

7. Drink plenty of water

Make sure you have enough water to keep yourself and passengers hydrated on your trip. Even mild dehydration can cause tiredness and nausea.

Top Tip: Empty a little water from your water bottles to allow for expansion and then freeze them overnight so that you can have cold water for your long trip.