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Driver fatigue a real hazard.

With summer approaching, our thoughts and attentions turn to day trips out and about with journeys that take in the stunning scenery of the region.

However, what should be a stress-free and relaxing car journey can sometimes be hampered by hot, sunny weather that can jeopardise the safety of both driver and passengers. In this week's Tools of the Trade, Benfield Motor Group offers advice on how to make sure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.

Tiredness when driving can affect our ability to concentrate and focus on the road as well as other cars around us. Professional risk assessors believe that tiredness or fatigue behind the wheel lies behind the cause of many car accidents.

If you're out and about throughout the day, try to avoid driving in the early afternoon as between 2 and 4pm our natural body clock is at a low point, causing a slump in energy and creating increased tiredness as a result. This is the time of day when statistically, more car accidents occur, so it is best to set time aside for a break, a late lunch or a brisk walk in the fresh air to recharge batteries before embarking on the next leg of your journey.

It is also important to stress that should you feel tired or sleepy behind the wheel at any time of the day, you should pull off the road at the first available opportunity to have a break, eat a snack, get a soft drink, or if necessary take a nap to ensure that you can continue safely on your journey.

Stress can also be aggravated by hot weather when you are out on the roads. When stuck in traffic in sunny weather, it is all too easy to become stressed or anxious, and hot temperatures can often add to the uncomfortable experience. Again, if stress is causing you to lose concentration or become less focused on driving, it is best to take a short break from the road, stretch your legs and take in some fresh air.

If you find that travelling to work in rush hour causes stress, you could think about leaving slightly earlier or later, or you could consider a car-share plan with a colleague from work to take the heat out of summer driving.

Remember, the hotter the weather, the more uncomfortable you are likely to become in a car, so please ensure that regular breaks become a standard part of your journey to recharge and recuperate in order to make it to your destination as safely as possible.

Question and answers

When I go over a bump, my rear tyres are hitting the wheel wells, causing deep cuts in my tires. What part of my rear suspension would cause this?

Answer: Assuming your car has standard tyres and rims, inspect your rear suspension. It is a long bar with rubber bushings on both ends that attach to the frame on one end and to the rear end housing on the other end.

How do I straighten out my wheel alignment?

Answer: This is not something you can do yourself; find a good service centre.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 26, 2006
Words:524
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