Extreme hot weather alert - newsroom

Danger of melting roads and potential blowouts

Pinpoint your location with what3words

18 July 2022

With temperatures likely to exceed 35°C early this week, the AA is advising drivers to avoid the hottest part of the day and to be well prepared before they head off in their cars.

Those in older cars not recently serviced, without air conditioning, are advised to consider whether they should be travelling.

The AA and North West Ambulance Service have been advising that there is a greater danger of tyre blow-outs in extreme temperatures. Some local authorities have sent out the gritters to put sand on roads to try to prevent the road surface from melting.

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

Edmund King, AA president, said: “The extreme temperatures could be dangerous if you breakdown or get stuck in congestion. Ensure you have enough fuel or electric charge to keep your air-conditioning running. The heatwave could cause considerable problems for many older vehicles without air-conditioning or recent servicing, with both the car and occupants over-heating. Driving outside the hottest part of the day is advisable.

“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.

“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. Try to wait in the shade in a safe place.

“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.