Summer is finally here! Which means many of us will be making a trip to the seaside. If you are lucky enough to live by the ocean these trips might only take a few minutes, but road safety experts warn of the dangers of these short trips, especially due to driver complacency. SEAT has compiled some tips on what to avoid while driving over the summer.
No flip flops or swimsuits
Typical beachwear is not suitable for driving. For example, not only do flip flops diminish a driver's control of the pedals, but they can also get stuck in them and hinder the ability to react. Drivers should always wear suitable footwear that fits properly to avoid any incidents.
Furthermore, driving without a t-shirt (done by 25% of drivers according to the European Automobile Commission Foundation) can cause chafing from the seatbelt. To lower the temperature inside the vehicle, the SEAT Technical Centre recommends opening the doors and windows for a few minutes before driving to ventilate the interior before turning on the air conditioning.
Match the number of passengers to the number of seats
Even though the trip may only be a few minutes, carrying more people in the car than the number of seats is risky as it means that some will not have a seatbelt. Its best to make two trips, if required, rather than risking the safety of the passengers.
Drivers need the right fluids, too
It is important to stay hydrated when temperatures are soaring. A study by Loughborough University (UK) and the European Hydration Institute shows that a dehydrated driver makes the same errors as one who has had 8 glasses of wine, so it is best to drink water before setting off and at regular intervals. In addition, assistants such as the drowsiness detector analyse driver behaviour and recommend when to take a break if necessary.
Driving with your elbow out the window on hot days, while common, should be avoided. This is because it affects the ability to control the vehicle as both hands are not on the steering wheel, and secondly because of the risk of serious injury in the event of a collision. Another extremely risky posture, in the case of the front seat passenger, is sitting with their feet on the dashboard. In the event of an accident, not only will the front airbag not retain the occupant correctly, but it can also potentially cause bodily harm.
Beach towel, sunglasses, sunscreen… driving licence
However, light you like to travel, always make sure you carry your ID documents. Here in Ireland and most other European countries, driving without a licence will get you a fine. Never leave it, or your Insurance Certificate, or any of your vehicle documents in your car.
Take your time to find the best parking spot
Finding a parking space close to the beach can be tricky but try not to get flustered. Remember you should only beep the horn to prevent an accident, not as a display of irritation. It is a warning of your presence in an area, not a fanfare to your arrival. Once you've found a spot, assistants such as the Park Assist help to ease into the space by automatically turning the steering wheel. If practicable park in the direction you wish to leave by reversing in, allowing you to drive out.
SEAT models come with premium sound design perfectly engineered for a crisp, clear and balanced sound giving you the perfect platform to listen to summer hits. But be careful not to turn up the volume too loud as you risk not hearing important warning sounds, like an ambulance siren or another vehicle beeping.