Keeping your cool in summer traffic can be a challenge. 

Tips for summer driving


With a hot, dry summer predicted, we share tips for driving to the conditions and avoiding trouble boiling over on the roads.

Prepare for poor traffic conditions

There’s no escaping the fact that there is more traffic on the roads in summer, which means trips may take longer than you’d like.

On top of an increase in traffic, it’s likely you’ll encounter roadworks. Work that needs to be done when it’s warm and dry will impact many major roads and there’s a high chance that parts of your journey will be at a standstill.

But if you expect your trip to take longer than usual, you can prepare mentally. Try to stay patient and keep it in context: how much longer are we talking? Probably not much, in the scheme of things, and the journey is still worth taking, right?

Most importantly, avoid venting frustration toward others – especially roadworkers. They have an important job to do and they’re working in the heat to get it done.

If you can, travel earlier or later in the day to avoid the heat and the worst traffic.

There is always more traffic on the road during summer.

There is always more traffic on the road during summer.

Following too close makes everyone feel the heat

More traffic on the road means more chance of something going wrong. If you leave a bit more of a gap between you and the car ahead you’ll have more time to react in an emergency.

Following too closely not only increases your chance of being involved in a nose-to-tail accident, it also contributes to a feeling of frustration and likely annoys the driver you’re tailing.

Staying fresh is a lifesaver

It’s warm, you were up late, you are on a long drive... this is a recipe for nodding off behind the wheel.

On long trips it’s important to take regular breaks. Having healthy snacks and drinks in the car is a good idea; why not combine breaks in the journey with mini picnics along the way? If possible, share driving duties. Also, get a good night’s sleep before a long drive. All these simple things will help keep you alert and get you to your destination safely.

See and be seen on the road

Glare from the sun can be a problem in summer, so have some good quality sunglasses handy and make sure your windscreen is clean and clear.

Also, consider having your headlights on during the day as that will improve the visibility of vehicle for others on the road.

Look out for everyone in the car

On a hot day the temperature inside a parked vehicle can become dangerously high for kids or animals in just minutes.

Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car on a hot day, even if you think you are only going to be gone for a short time.

>> Find out more about the dangers of leaving children or pets in a hot car.

Check your vehicle is in shape for summer

Check that your tyres, headlights, indicators, windscreen and wipers are all in good condition and that your vehicle has a current Warrant of Fitness and registration.

Make sure your tyres not only have sufficient tread but also that they are at the right pressure, which helps your vehicle be more fuel efficient.


Story by Dylan Thomsen for the Summer 2023 issue of AA Directions Magazine. Dylan Thomsen is a Motoring Policy Advisor for the AA.

What do you think? What are your best tips for keeping your cool when driving in summer? Share your thoughts in a letter to the editor.

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