How to stay cool (and safe) in your car during the heatwave – Metro.co.uk

How to

NEWS… BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
Stepping into a hot car in a heatwave is not one of life’s most pleasant sensations – it’s a lot like getting into a sauna, while wearing all your clothes.
Most of us immediately open all the doors and try to get some air circulating, but when the air outside is 35°C, or even hotter, that ultimately is not going to make your car a relaxing oasis.
Even after you start driving, that doesn’t stop your problems, with the car potentially overheating or coming into problems on the road due to the temperature.
Breakdown company the AA came up with some tips to make driving safer and more comfortable in the heat, and top on the list includes keeping plenty of water in the car, which can make sure you don’t get dehydrated if you get stuck in traffic or break down.
Mark Born from the AA’s Driving School’s Instructor Training Academy said that the hot weather made cars more prone to overheating, so people should know the basics of how to deal with this situation.
Counterintuitively, people should turn the air conditioning down and the heating UP if the engine seems to be overheating.
This is because the air con uses energy from the car, and the heater draws hot air away from the engine area, helping it to cool down.
You may see a warning light or that the temperature gauge is high to alert you that the engine is too hot.
People are also advised not to lift up the bonnet immediately, as 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 a drive in the heat: ‘Check you have enough fuel for the journey.
‘EV drivers should make sure they have enough charge to last any unexpected queues with the air conditioning on full blast.
‘If you are planning a route with charging or rest stops be sure to check for traffic incidents before you set off to avoid delays.’
Something many of us have wondered is whether it’s better to cool down with the windows open or by using the air con.
And apparently, when it comes to fuel or energy consumption, it’s actually better to use air con to cool the car if you’re driving at speed.
This is because the wind resistance created by open windows will use more petrol than running the air con.
If you’re just pootling round town, however, having the windows open should use less fuel.
The AA also said people should dress appropriately when driving to avoid getting too hot.
Although it is legal to drive barefoot, it’s not recommended, as you’ve got to be able to operate the pedals safely.
Sweaty feet might slide on them and fail to grip them properly, or push down with the right amount of pressure. 
Light coloured clothes which are not too thick can be more comfortable in the heat.
People can also consider freezing bottles of water to take with them, which will stay cooler for longer even as they melt.
‘Passengers can press the bottle against their wrists or forehead,’ the AA said.
They also recommended taking sealed ice packs or damp cloths into the car to be held a few inches away from the air vents, making instant air conditioning.
Paper fans can be kept in the glove box for when they are needed, while you can spritz water onto the steering wheel and let it evaporate to help cool it down before setting off.
‘If you have to park in the sun, pop a windscreen sun shade on your dashboard to reflect the sun’s heat and pull down any window sun shades,’ the AA added.
Dogs succumb to heatstroke quickly and, cannot keep cool as easily as we can. 🥵 Here’s what you should do if you ever see a dog in a hot car. #Thread #Heatwave
They said you can also cover the steering wheel with a spare tea towel or cloth to prevent it getting even hotter, while exposed metal on the seats which gets very hot, such as seat belt buckles and child car seat harness fittings, 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 left in vehicles, which can act like greenhouses and get dangerous hot in a short time – even if it isn’t super hot outside.
After a half 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, official advice is to dial 999 immediately and ask for the police who can give further advice.
Remember also that car windows don’t block UV rays, so you may want to pack suncream as well.
The weather this week is set to be so hot that gritters are on standby to spread light dustings of sand on roads, which may become so hot that the tarmac melts.
Areas most likely to be affected are those with older road surfaces, in rural locations and south facing.
The sand is said to soak up the excess bitumen making the surface easier to drive on.
Any motorists who find tar stuck to their tyres are advised to wash it off with warm soapy water.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.
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