Staying Road Safe In The Christmas Heat

For a goodly portion of the world Christmas is a time when the world seems covered in a glittering sheen of snow and frost. Street lamps and lit windows are surrounded by a corona of hazy light and the huddled masses clutch gaudily wrapped presents as they scurry home to place them under the tree. It’s a romantic image that has adorned many a greetings card, and brings with it a certain charm… But for a lot of us, Christmas is a very different affair!

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In the southern hemisphere, Christmas time is not a snowy, frosty romantic scene, it’s business as usual under a canopy of raging sunlight. As the rest of the world wraps up for winter, Aussies, Kiwis and the like strip down for summer. While the internet is usually peppered with road safety articles warning drivers about the perils of the season, those of us who’ll be drinking white wine in the sun and celebrating Christmas around the barbecue have considerations of our own.

Just because the sun out doesn’t mean that you should turn a blind eye to road safety over the festive season…


Dehydration and heat exhaustion

Australia is massive, sprawling and (on the whole) sparsely populated so road trips to see family members in other states and territories can be long and arduous journeys. As tempting as it may be to plough on and make a good time, it’s vital in the hot weather that you make frequent stops to rehydrate even if you’re blasting the AC all the way there. Dehydration significantly reduces concentration and reaction times meaning that you’re less able to respond to hazards effectively. Make sure that you take plenty of cold bottled water (and cut back on caffeine) in order to stay alert and responsive especially since you may encounter…

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Irresponsible drivers

Even if your driving is impeccable, there are other road users who tend to be less responsible around this time of year. Christmas brings with it an unfortunate spike in drink driving. Indeed in Adelaide NSW a third of drivers admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol last Christmas. Thus, it’s extra important to be alert and perceptive of hazards while driving.


Tyre safety

Your tyres are particularly vulnerable in the hot weather. As you drive, the temperature of your tyres increases faster than in milder weather, causing the heated air inside the tyres to expand leading to a fast increase in its pressure. This can lead to a tyre blowout; a rapid loss of pressure that creates an explosion. Needless to say this can have disastrous consequences when travelling at high speeds. Check your tyre pressures constantly or install a real-time tyre pressure monitor if your vehicle does not have one. Check out for more information. A brief check can potentially save your life.


Sun dazzle

As important as it is to make sure your tyre pressures are checked regularly, maintaining a clean windscreen is also vital. As the days grow longer and the sun hovers over the horizon for longer, more opportunities for sun dazzle and sun strike are created. Dirt and scratches on your windscreen can refract light into your eyes, making it difficult to see and perceive hazards.