Warm weather could see drivers slapped with £5,000 for not using air conditioning

A busy motorway in warm weather

Drivers could be hit with fines in the summer heat

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 11/08/2023

- 09:35

Experts are urging drivers to take steps to cool their cars in hot weather over the summer

The Highway Code addresses what motorists should do when they are driving in warm weather, with the heat potentially affecting their ability to drive.

Rule 237 states that the vehicle should be kept well-ventilated to avoid the driver becoming drowsy at the wheel.

It is not just the heat that could affect drivers, but also the sunlight. If motorists are dazzled by the sunlight, they are advised to slow down and if necessary, stop.

If someone does become drowsy and is not using their air con, they could be hit with a hefty fine for careless driving or for driving without due care and attention.

A car's air conditioning button

The air conditioning could prevent drivers from becoming drowsy


Initially, this would be a £100 on-the-spot fine but could be escalated to a £5,000 fine if it were to go to court.

In addition to the enormous fine, motorists could be left with nine penalty points on their licence or even a driving ban.

When using the air conditioning, drivers are advised to use the “external” air setting, with the button showing an arrow entering the car.

This is seen as the preferred method to ensure the car is cool rather than the air recirculation button.

The air outside of the vehicle will normally be cooler, so circulating the cool air will drop the internal temperature down at a quicker rate.

Experts from Vanarama state: “Meanwhile, open all remaining windows as the air-con system will take a little while to become fully effective.”

Following a period of hot weather, the road could become soft and slippery if it rains after periods of heat.

This could become a reality for millions of drivers with the Met Office forecasting rain for much of the UK over the weekend.

With the softer road, car tyres may not have the best grip on the road, causing the driver to potentially lose control of their steering and braking.

To avoid being too hot when at the wheel, drivers can use a wet cloth to wipe down the steering wheel before setting off.

Motorists can dampen any parts of the car they may use a lot to make the driving experience more pleasant.

This could include wiping the steering wheel, gear stick and handbrake to avoid burning their hand while on the road.


A long queue of traffic

Motorists are being warned of warm weather this summer


It is not just the drivers that need to be protected in the heat with any passengers also at risk of dehydration and heat stroke.

Drivers could put a sun shield over the back windows which can help keep the sun off the passengers in the back as well as keeping some of the heat out of the car.

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