Travelling in extreme heat

During warmer weather, you may be thinking about using our network to go on holiday, have a day out, or visit friends and family. You may be travelling on roads that you’re unfamiliar with during instances of extreme heat. Whatever you’re looking to do, we want you to do it safely.

Travelling in extreme heat

Before you travel

  • Make sure your vehicle is fit for the journey – carry out our recommended vehicle checks.
  • Check the weather forecast for your route and destination
  • If hot weather is forecast, take plenty of drinking water with you – enough for you and your passengers
  • Allow plenty of time for your journey, including regular breaks
  • Check travel conditions before setting out and, where it's safe to do so, during the journey

During periods of extreme hot weather, adjust your travel to avoid the hottest days and times of day if you can.

Pack a summer kit

Carry essential summer supplies just in case you need them, especially if there's a forecast for severe weather. Essentials include:

  • drinking water
  • snacks that won’t be affected by the heat
  • a fully charged mobile phone and a charger
  • a hat
  • sunglasses
  • sun block
  • any emergency medication you may need

How we help you

Our traffic officers and control room teams closely monitor our roads to help keep people moving safely, including during extended periods of hot weather. 

Our roads are designed and built to standards that are considered best practice and adopted in other countries around the world. They are highly resilient to extremes of weather, including hot weather.

In some isolated instances when it is very hot, tarmac can soften. In the most severe cases, we consider closing lanes for safety reasons. We monitor the network very closely during these times, so that we can carry out necessary repairs as quickly as possible.

What if I break down?

If your vehicle has a problem, or you get into trouble on a motorway, stay calm and try to exit at the next junction or motorway service area.

Find more advice on what to do if you break down on our website.

Top tips for summer driving

Woman checking oil levels in her car

Cut out the glare

Always take some sunglasses with you, as bright sunshine can lower visibility and make driving difficult.

But avoid category four sunglasses – these have extremely dark lenses which let in very little light and are unsuitable for driving. All sunglasses should be labelled with a category number.

Check it before you tow it

If you’re planning to tow a caravan or trailer, make sure they’re also safe and roadworthy, particularly if they’ve not been used for some time.

Check whether you need towing mirrors on both driver and passenger sides to improve rear visibility.

Think about other road users

Summer is popular time for cyclists, motorcyclists, walkers and horse riders to get out and about, so please take particular care to give them space and time.

Slow down on sharp bends in case there’s a vulnerable road user round the corner.  

Keep an eye on the temperature

During particularly hot weather, make sure your engine stays within the normal operating temperature range. If it begins to overheat, find somewhere safe to stop and allow it cool down.

Find out about driving in different weather conditions