It seems so distant now but it was only a week or so ago when we experienced the hottest day of the year and we all started wilting like un-watered, delicate hot house flowers. At the time of writing this we are back to normal, i.e. rain. Here in the UK we always seem to get caught out by sudden bursts of hot weather which is unsurprising given our climate. For a brief period it looked like summer had truly arrived. Never mind, it could still happen and when it does we need, like good boy scouts, to be prepared – especially when driving.
This is particularly true if we are going away on a driving holiday. It isn’t just in bad weather that the worst can happen. We need to be able to cope all year around and so does your car. It’s just a matter of common sense, forward planning, keeping your cool and putting safety first.
When travelling always try to plan your journey and know where and by which route you’ll go. Check the tread and pressure of your tyres and all the precious fluids. That’s not just a winter job. Summer can lead to car complacency.
Dogs can die in hot cars as we well know and being hot and dehydrated doesn’t do humans much good either. Drive for too long without precious water and it won’t be long before you are hallucinating golden arches on bleak empty highways. Keeping plenty of water on board and consuming it is essential for maintaining blood circulation throughout your bodily particles and helps control the body temperature.
Heat means fatigue. When driving, concentration starts to slip after a couple of hours, or so we are told by the experts, so have a breather, stretch your legs and even take a little nap in the shade. Put together an emergency kit; some drinks and snacks, a charger for your mobile phone and a road map for emergencies. That’s right: a road map. Remember them? Man cannot live by satellite navigation alone. When the machine stops so do you. Also, learning to read and use a map and compass is a skill we would all do well to learn even in this technological age.
Some entertainment for younger passengers, bless ’em, may make the journey less stressful – for you. They could learn to read a map too. There’s a thought. They won’t like it obviously because nobody gets blown to bits on a small screen but they’ll thank you for it later. Probably.
Other people have it easy. If we lived in sunny California for example it wouldn’t be a problem. You don’t hear West Coast folk bitching about the weather, no sir. They don’t care how quickly a soft-top goes up because they never have to do it. What I hate is the way they’re so damn smug about it with their rollerblades and beach-side gym equipment. Do they ever give the poor old storm-tossed UK a second thought? I doubt it. Well, I’ve only got one thing to say to them: Trump.
You see, to we Brits good weather is like good sex; it doesn’t happen that often and when it does it’s over too quickly. That is why as a race we are stoical and resilient. Not for us the sun-bronzed bony knees of the Californian convertible driver; not for us the namby-pamby diet of Guy Fieri’s fiery food, Pisco Punch or Mai Tai cocktails. We want pale British knees, a Gregg’s meat pie, warm beer and a reason to curse the heavens from inside a steamed-up tin-top when it gets too hot. Californians don’t know what it is like to be trapped in a twenty-five mile tailback on the M4 in blistering heat. They don’t know. They’re not here.
What I’m saying is if it does warm up make sure you’re good and ready for it this time. Geoff Maxted