Keeping your car safe during a heatwave

The tips you need to keep your car safe - both on the road and at home – when the temperature rises.

Driving in hazardous conditions

9 February 2024

You might not think of a hot day as being particularly treacherous for driving. But there are a few heatwave hazards you’ll need to be aware of - from melting tarmac to opportunist thieves.

Find out everything you need to know about keeping your car safe during a heatwave:

Driving dangers

Make sure you arrive safely by looking out for these heatwave hazards whilst you’re on the road.

Melting tarmac

On hot, sunny days, you might notice the tarmac on the road will go soft and sticky. When this happens, you’ll find it trickier to steer, and your car will take longer to stop. Slow down if you notice the road you’re driving on has started to melt in the heat.

Watch out for unexpected bumps in the road, too. The wheels of heavier vehicles like lorries and vans can sink in the soft tarmac, leaving permanent ridges and dents in their wake.

Fading lines

Road markings can fade in sunny weather. If lines become too faded, you might not be able to see lines marking out where you need to give way, or where your side of the road is.

Drive with caution in areas where road markings have faded and be aware that other road users may struggle to navigate without clear markings. Make sure you respect parking restrictions, too - even if the yellow lines have mostly faded.

If you spot signs of road markings fading, you might be able to report it to your local council, via their website.

Abandoned vehicles

In extreme heat, you may find more vehicles left at the side of the road because they’ve overheated or broken down. Keep an eye out for abandoned cars, and drive slowly past them where you can. There may be passengers on the road or verge nearby.

Listening to the latest travel advice and keeping up with weather forecasts will help you to properly prepare for your trip. If the Met Office have issued a weather warning for extreme heat, you may want to reconsider your travel plans.

Protecting your parked car

Parking in the shade will keep the air in your car cooler and protect your paint from fading. But what else can you do to keep your car safe whilst it’s parked in the sun?

Wind up those windows

Leaving your windows and sunroof open welcomes more than just a cool breeze into your car – it invites thieves, too. If you’re leaving your car unattended, don’t leave your windows ajar. Make sure you’ve locked your doors and closed your sunroof, too.

Remember, your AXA car insurance won’t cover you for items lost or stolen after you’ve left windows open or doors unlocked. If you’re an AXA customer, you can check what you are and aren’t covered for by logging in to your online account.

Be considerate of your company

If you need to make a stop, don’t leave vulnerable adults, children, or pets in your vehicle. Temperatures inside a car climb quickly in direct sunlight, and the consequences to your passengers could become very serious within minutes.

On hot days, consider whether you really need to take your pet with you – and what you’d do with them if you break down. Remember, your dog or cat will be wearing a fur coat that they can’t take off!

If you want to keep your car as cool as possible while parked, try parking in a shaded area out of direct sunlight, if you can. Putting up a sun shade could help, too. You’ll need to place it so the shiny side is facing out of the car for maximum effect.

Coping with heatwaves in your electric vehicle

The battery in your electric vehicle won’t be as efficient during warmer weather. You’ll find that, as temperatures climb, your car won’t take you as far on a single charge. Your car may take longer to charge, too. Leave plenty of time to charge your car before you set off, and consider allowing more time for your journey – you may need to top up en route.

Keeping your electric vehicle in extreme heat for long periods of time may deteriorate the battery long-term. If you can, try to keep your car parked in a garage, or somewhere shady, during extreme heat.

For more hints and tips driving your electric vehicle, check out our article ‘What you need to know about your electric vehicle’.

Make your summer road trip a success

Before you head for the beach, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for a drive in the sun. Check out our summer driving tips for a checklist of what to do before you embark on your road trip.

Check your cover today

It’s a good idea to get to grips with the ins and outs of your car insurance so you know exactly what you’re covered for if the worst happens. 

If you’re an AXA customer, visit your online account to check your policy documents today. While you’re there, check your details are up to date, too. If your information isn’t right when you go to make a claim, we might not be able to pay it in the way you’d expect.

If you do need to claim, you can start a new claim or track an existing one quickly and easily, online.