Extreme hot weather alert – travel advice from the AA

Jul 18, 2022

  • Temperatures set to top 35C on Monday and Tuesday
  • Car’s interior can reach 60°C making it feel like a mobile microwave
  • Pinpoint your location with what3words
  • Vehicle and route preparation key to a day out

With temperatures likely to exceed 35°C in some places over the weekend and early next week, the AA is advising drivers to be well prepared before they head off in their cars.

On a sunny 27°C Day, the inside temperature of a car could reach an oven-like 60°C so it’s important to keep your keys in your pocket if you are placing children or pets into your car. Last summer the AA attended an average of two cases per day where children or pets had been accidentally locked in cars – along with the keys.

Setting off as early in the morning as possible can reduce the chances of your engine overheating as the air temperature is reduced at this time of the day. Road surfaces are also likely to be cooler – meaning that your car’s tyres are less likely to reach temperatures high enough for pressures to increase.

Like oil and coolant levels, you should only check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold. ‘Cold’ means that the car hasn’t been driven for a couple of hours. The pressure inside your tyres increases as they heat up. If you set your pressures when your tyres are already warm, their pressure will probably be too low.

Overheated engines are one of the most likely causes of a roadside breakdown in very hot weather. Make sure that your vehicle’s cooling system is in good shape by having it checked by a mechanic. Radiator cooling fans are more likely to seize on older cars – meaning they won’t work when they’re needed. An overheated engine can lead to a costly repair, so preventative maintenance could save you money in the long run.

Know your location

Sean Sidley, AA patrol of the year, says: “If your car breaks down when temperatures are high, it’s even more important than usual that we get to you as quickly as we can. The quickest way for our members to report a breakdown is through the AA breakdown app. –  Along with other benefits like the AA Route Planner and discounts when visiting the UK’s top attractions, reporting a breakdown through the app will help to get one of our five-star patrols to you sooner.

“Knowing your exaction location is vital to us, so downloading the what3words app (w3w) and reporting your unique w3w location can help us to reach you faster. For instance, if your location was reported as ///rollers.classics.engineers our breakdown location system would know instantly that you were on the M6 northbound, just past junction 21. If the people who are with you also have the w3w words app, you could use it to locate them when you get to the beach – nobody likes melted ice cream!”

Carry plenty of water – at least one litre per person travelling. Keeping yourself and other occupants hydrated can help lower body temperatures in hot weather. If the worst should happen, you can keep yourself and those with you topped up with cool water while waiting for help to arrive.

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