Tips for summer driving

Drive safely during summer using these helpful tips from Halifax.

 

Cover you can count on from Halifax

Climbing temperatures can put extra stress on your car, so it’s worthwhile making sure you’ve got the right level of cover in place.

Halifax provide three levels of cover, plus optional extras to suit your needs, including RAC Breakdown Cover.

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Halifax Car Insurance is underwritten by a panel of insurers and is arranged and administered by BISL Limited. When getting a quote online you’ll be taken to BISL Limited’s online site with a new privacy and cookie policy.

Planning a trip?

Before you travel, try to remember the term, ‘COVERS’:

Coolant – engine coolant helps to regulate temperature, so make sure it’s topped up. If the level drops quickly, you might want to book your car in for a health check.

Oil – check the oil level in your engine. Top it up when necessary to prevent overheating and damage.

Visibility – it’s important to have good visibility of the road ahead, so keep your screen wash topped up and all water jets clear.

Electrics – make sure your car is functional and safe, from windows and wipers to your lights and indicators.

Rubber – make sure your tyres are in good condition and inflated to the right pressure. Also check that your windscreen wipers are fully functional.

Supplies – make sure you’ve topped up your fuel tank, or recharged your battery if you drive an electric vehicle, ready for the trip ahead.

How to drive safely in summer

  • Plan extra time for each trip, allowing for heavier traffic – especially during the school holidays. As well as being stressful, you may be more likely to have an accident if you’re rushing.
  • To tackle glare, keep sunglasses handy, your windscreen clear and use your sun visors. 
  • You might come across more cyclists and pedestrians on the roads during the summer months. Watch out for hazards, and follow the guidance from the Highway Code.
  • If you suffer from hay fever, get someone else to drive when you can. Failing that, make sure medication you’re using is non-drowsy, and keep air vents and windows closed to limit the amount of pollen you breathe in.
  • If you’re a smoker, don’t flick ash or throw cigarette butts out of the window. As well as littering being an offence, dry grass on the roadside could catch light, causing destruction and delays.

Whatever the time of year

  • Top up your fuel tank or battery before a long trip. Also, make sure you know where the fuel or electric vehicle recharging stations are along the way, for both refuelling and comfort breaks.
  • Tiredness can cause accidents, so make sure you get an early night before you travel. Aim to take 15-minute breaks every 2 hours, or earlier if you’re feeling fatigued.
  • Even in heavy and slow-moving traffic, keep your distance from other cars.
  • Make sure your windscreen is clean and clear. Police can issue fines and points if your visibility is impaired.
  • Drive carefully, with both hands on the wheel, and your focus on the road.
  • If your car breaks down, switch on your hazard lights and exit the car using the left-hand doors, ideally leaving any pets inside the vehicle. Once you’ve called for assistance, wait by the roadside at a safe distance, ideally wearing a high-vis vest or jacket. Attempting repairs could be dangerous, so it’s best to seek professional help.

Keeping things cool

  • When you’re parked, put sun shields in your car windows to deflect the sun’s heat.
  • Try to park in the shade whenever possible.
  • Carry water wherever you go.
  • Use air conditioning when driving to reduce the temperature inside your car.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, opening your car windows is the next best thing.

 

Never leave children or pets in the car on a hot day, even with the windows open. Cars can heat faster and stay warmer for longer than the surrounding environment, which could cause heatstroke, or worse.

Carry these essentials

  • A fully charged mobile phone and charger or power pack.
  • A torch and spare batteries.
  • Sat-nav or a road atlas.
  • An empty fuel can.
  • Bottled water.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sun cream.


And for emergencies

  • A high-vis fluorescent jacket/vest.
  • Warm and waterproof clothing.
  • A sleeping bag or foil blankets.
  • Reflective warning triangles.
  • Snacks and drinks.
  • Jump-start leads. 
  • Sensible shoes.

Seasonal car maintenance

Although different to wet and icy conditions, warm weather can also negatively affect your car.

Tyres

Temperature can affect the pressure of your tyres, causing blowouts. In addition to checking for wear and tear, test your tyre pressure regularly, especially if you’re carrying heavy loads.

Oil

Check your engine oil levels regularly to keep things running smoothly. Too much or too little oil can damage your engine over time.

Lights

Make sure your lights are functional, replacing any bulbs that aren’t working. As well as helping you to see and be seen, the police can issue fines if your lights are faulty.

Screen wash

Being able to see through your windscreen is important, so make sure your screen wash is topped up. Spray and wipe any dust and dead bugs away.

Cooling systems

Having an effective cooling system can prevent your car from overheating. Having functioning air conditioning is also going to make travel on hot days more comfortable for you.

Clutch

Challenging terrain, slow-moving traffic, and even towing a trailer or caravan can result in wear. To protect your clutch, stick to even roads where possible, avoid heavy traffic and make sure you know the tow limit for your vehicle.

Car battery

Your car battery is recharged as you drive along, so slow-moving traffic can cause issues. Using air conditioning and charging multiple devices can also drain the battery. Car batteries usually last 3-5 years, so is it time for an upgrade?

Alternator

If your battery isn’t working optimally, this can put strain on your car’s alternator, which is much more expensive to replace.

Is your service history up to date?

To keep your car in good working order, it’s important to have it serviced, following manufacturer advice. It’s normal to service a car every 12,000 miles, or each year – whichever comes first.

By servicing your car, you’ll:

  • Maintain the performance and reliability of your car.
  • Reduce the risk of breaking down.
  • Improve fuel economy.

 

If you’re not sure when your car was last serviced, check your vehicle logbook, or contact the garage who completed your last service. If you’re overdue, get yourself booked in.

Insurance and breakdown cover

If you have an accident or your car breaks down, having the right cover should give you some peace of mind. You can buy breakdown cover on its own, or as part of many insurance policies.

See car insurance options

Why choose Halifax Car Insurance?

Our standard cover gives you:

With comprehensive cover, you’ll also get:

Plus, you can boost your cover with:

Our standard cover gives you:

  • Access to a 24-hour emergency claims helpline.
  • The option to manage your policy online using My Account.
  • 60 Days of European Union cover at the level you have at home.

Third party and third party, fire and theft provides a basic level of cover.

With comprehensive cover, you’ll also get:

  • Vandalism cover.
  • Approved claim repairs guaranteed for 3 years.
  • Access to a 24-hour emergency windscreen helpline.
  • New car replacement within 12 months of purchasing a new vehicle.
  • A courtesy car while yours is being repaired. Subject to eligibility and availability.

Plus, you can boost your cover with:

Important information: terms, conditions and exclusions apply to all benefits. In the event of a claim normal excess applies and your no claims discount may be affected.

For more information, please refer to the relevant insurance information document:

Comprehensive (PDF, 118KB)
Third Party (PDF, 209KB)
Third Party, Fire & Theft (PDF, 113KB)

Looking to buy car insurance?

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If you need to get in touch

Chat to a member of the insurance team Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm, or 10am-4pm on Sun and bank holidays. Call: 0330 018 6312.

Frequently asked questions

  • The annual cost of car insurance is largely based on risk, and how likely you are to make a claim. For example, if you’ve recently passed your driving test and have limited experience on the road, your insurance premium will be higher than that of someone who has a long and claim-free driving record.

    Factors that can affect the cost of car insurance include:

    • Your age and occupation
    • Your estimated annual mileage
    • Any existing no claims discount
    • Security features or vehicle modifications
    • Any amount of voluntary excess you choose
    • Whether you live near a crime or accident hot spot
    • The insurance group, age and value of your vehicle
    • Any named drivers who will also be using your vehicle
    • What you generally use your car for. For example, travelling for work
    • Where you usually park overnight. For example, off-road or in a garage
    • Optional extras, such as enhanced legal assistance, guaranteed replacement car cover, breakdown cover etc.

    The level of cover you choose will also make a difference to the cost, whether you opt for third party cover, third party, fire and theft or comprehensive cover.

    To find out how much car insurance could cost with Halifax, get a quote online.

  • Most insurers offer the option to protect your no claims discount, even if you need to claim. Just be aware that extra costs will usually apply.

    Halifax offer protection as an optional extra for customers with four+ years of no claims discount.

  • It’s important to check the details of your car insurance policy before you drive outside the UK.

    In terms of Halifax car insurance, whether you choose comprehensive, third-party fire and theft, or just third party, you’re covered when driving in:

    • Great Britain, including Northern Ireland
    • throughout the European Union and European Economic Area
    • the Channel Islands
    • the Isle of Man
    • Switzerland

    If you’re planning to drive further afield, you’ll need to arrange extra cover. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to all levels of cover.

  • Before you drive towing a caravan, trailer or horse box, it’s important to check the details of your car insurance policy, driving licence and your vehicle’s safe towing weight.

    Your insurance policy – it depends on the terms of your policy, but many insurers only provide third party cover for damage you cause to someone else’s property, but not any repairs to your caravan, trailer or anything transported inside. For your peace of mind, you might want to get an extra insurance policy to provide enhanced cover.

    If in doubt, it’s worth contacting your insurer.

    Your driving licence – what you can legally tow depends on:

    • when your driving licence was issued
    • whether you’ve taken any advanced driving tests
    • the combined Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of your towing vehicle, trailer and load

    If your licence was issued before 1 January 1997, you can drive a towing vehicle and trailer with a MAM of up to 8,250kg.

    To tow more, you would have to pass a category C theory test and the C1+E practical test. This would allow you to drive a rigid lorry towing a trailer with a combined MAM of up to 12,000kg.

    If your licence was issued between 1 January 1997 and 19 January 2013, you can:

    • drive a vehicle with a MAM of up to 3,500kg, towing a trailer of up to 750kg
    • tow a trailer over 750kg if the combined MAM of the trailer and vehicle is under 3,500kg

    To tow more, you’d have to pass a B+E trailer test, allowing you to tow a trailer of any size.

    If your licence was issued after 19 January 2013, you can:

    • tow a trailer weighing no more than 750kg
    • tow a trailer over 750kg if the combined MAM of the trailer and vehicle is under 3,500kg

    To tow more, you’d have to pass a B+E trailer test, allowing you to tow a trailer up to 3,500kg.

    Your vehicle’s safe towing weight – anything you’re towing should never be over 85% of your towing vehicles kerb weight. That’s the weight of your vehicle, excluding passengers or cargo.

    To find this out, refer to your vehicle identification number (VIN) plate. This can be located in a few places, depending on the car, but start with the inside of the door frames, or under your car bonnet.

    In addition to the 17-digit chassis number, you’ll also find information about tyre pressures and your vehicle weight. Figure A is the gross weight (MAM) of the vehicle. Figure B is the gross train weight, which is the maximum combined weight for your vehicle and anything you’re towing.

    To calculate the maximum weight for a trailer, caravan or horse box, subtract figure A, from figure B.

    To weight a trailer or caravan, you’ll need to visit a local weighbridge. There could be a small fee for this service. It’s useful to weigh your car and whatever you’ll be towing when they’re both empty, and again once you’re all packed.

    If the weight exceeds the legal limit, not only will it be illegal to drive and tow, but if you had an accident your insurance could be invalidated.

    Other tips for when you’re towing something:

    • The maximum length of a trailer should be no more than 7m.
    • The maximum width of a trailer should be no more than 2.55m.
    • If you’re towing something wider than your vehicle, you must use towing mirrors.
    • You should have working lights and reflectors on your caravan, trailer or horse box.
    • You must use a tow bar that’s designed for your vehicle, and which meets EU regulations.
    • You must display a number plate on your trailer which matches that of the towing vehicle.

    Also watch your speed and driving position when towing a caravan, trailer or horse box:

    • In built-up areas, observe a maximum speed limit of 30mph.
    • On a single carriageway the maximum is 50mph.
    • On a dual carriageway or motorway, it’s 60mph.

    When towing, it’s illegal to drive in the outside lane of a motorway.

    Source: gov.uk towing with a car

  • You can access and manage your Halifax car insurance policy online at any time. Using My Account you can:

    • get a quote for a second car
    • manage payments and renewals
    • add or remove named drivers
    • change your address and contact details
    • view, download or print your policy documents
    • change vehicle, what it’s used for, or the level of cover

    If you’d prefer to make changes by phone, you can call: 0344 209 0471

    Speak to a representative Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 8am-6pm, or 10am-4pm on Sun and bank holidays.

    Important: policy changes could affect the cost of your premium.

Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.