Ferry sailing on a sunny sea

This is How Drivers Can Stay Cool in the Summer Heat

Stay cool and be prepared for high temperatures with our hot weather guide for drivers.

During the summer months, there are additional steps that truck and van drivers should take to prepare for both short and long journeys.

Here’s how you & your drivers can stay cool in the summer and ensure a smooth journey.

  1. Stay protected (& hydrated)

Let’s start with the basics.

Protecting your skin and eyes from UV rays is just as important on the road as off the road.

Prolonged sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer and can severely damage your eyesight. Even the reflection of sunlight from the road’s surface can damage your vision over time. Meanwhile, dehydration can lead to sunstroke and heat exhaustion.

Sunglasses (with UV400 protection) and suncream are the body’s best defence against UV rays, while plenty of water will help to regulate your body temperature.

  1. Bring the essentials

A significant portion of body heat comes from the head, face and neck. One simple way to bring down your body temperature on long journeys is to hold a cold, wet towel over your forehead or neck for several minutes.

Please note, this should only be attempted when the vehicle is safely parked.

One great way to store these towels and keep them cool in the heat is by using a freezer bag filled with freezer packs. You can also use self-refrigerating containers to store your water.

Other essentials you should consider taking with you include headache or hayfever/allergy relief medicine, aloe vera gel to treat sunburn and a hat for shade.

  1. Take care of your AC

The first thing most of us do when driving in hot weather is turn the AC on. While our other tips on this list are important, using your vehicle’s built-in air conditioning or climate control is probably one of the best ways to stay cool in this heat.

That’s why it is vital that you take care of your AC, so that it’s there for you when you need it most.

There are a few ways you can do this, including:

Keep the windows shut

It might sound counter-intuitive, but opening the windows while running your AC can actually inhibit its performance, whereas leaving your windows shut while you run the AC will allow it to work properly.

Run the AC every week

We advise running the air conditioning for 10 minutes continuously to optimise the compressor's performance and maintain optimal gas pressure.


It may be time for a refrigerant recharge if you find that your air conditioning is not blowing air as effectively as it once did.

Keeping on top of your AC maintenance doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming, but it can save you much more time and money in the future when you ensure that the AC is working for you when you need it most.

  1. Check your tyre pressure

During the summer season, tyre blowouts are a common occurrence on the road.

This is caused by under inflated and damaged tyres undergoing increased friction during spells of hot weather, causing delays to your journey.

To avoid these delays, always check your vehicle’s tyre pressure before setting off.

  1. Be prepared for summer changes

Tyre blowouts are not the only unexpected occurrence drivers should be prepared for.

From touring motorcyclists to summer rainstorms, drivers should expect the unexpected during summer - especially on longer journeys. Always be aware of your surroundings.

If you feel your focus starting to fade because of the heat, remember to pull over and take a well-deserved break.

  1. Travelling with pets?

Man’s best friend deserves a helping paw.

While all drivers need to be prepared to beat the summer heat, those travelling with pets such as dogs need to be ready for anything. Traffic jams and other delays can set you back several hours, so having all the provisions your pet needs (cold water, a cooling mat, etc.) and bringing extra supplies to account for any possible unforeseen delays to your journey is vital.

When it is 22 degrees celsius outside, temperatures inside the car can climb as high as 47, so remember to never leave your dog inside the car when you are parked.

For more information, see our summer pet safety checklist for drivers.

  1. Check the fuel tank

Did you know that more fuel is needed in stop-start conditions? During the busy summer period, traffic on the roads is at an all-time high, which increases the amount of fuel you use.

It is therefore important to check your fuel tank before starting your journey and to factor in time for additional breaks.

Last, but certainly not least…

  1. Take plenty of breaks

Whether you are travelling with man’s best friend or on your own, taking regular breaks on your journey will give you the chance to cool down, stretch your legs and even find some shade to sit in. This will also give you the opportunity to top up on suncream, hydrate and try out tip #2. Plan ahead and have a good idea of where you are going to stop on your journey.

That’s all for now. For more guidance for drivers, ferry operator updates and industry news, sign up to our mailing list.

19 July 2023

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