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RAC encounters big increase in RTAs and cars 'boiling over'

News   •   Jul 20, 2016 11:45 BST

Record numbers of cars expected on the roads this weekend as motorists head off for summer

The RAC is warning motorists that the heatwave is causing havoc for some drivers with vehicle cooling systems in melt down and an unexpected 44% rise in road traffic accidents.

RAC Traffic Watch spokesman Pete Williams said: “As the temperature gauge continues to knock on 30 degrees across many parts of the UK we saw a 23% increase in issues with vehicle cooling systems yesterday. These ranged from cars overheating to broken fans and problems with air con systems.

“We also received many calls from drivers who were caught out when their electric roof or sunroof jammed or failed to open and many more with problems with their electric windows.

“We also received a high volume of calls from drivers who found pools of water under their vehicles. This can be a particular cause for alarm but at times of high temperatures when the air con has been working overtime the unit freezes as it takes moisture out of the car and then when the car is parked this ice melts causing a puddle. The advice is to check whether this is simply odourless water or if it has coolant in and a clear smell and colour. If it is the former then there should be no need to worry.”

The RAC is gearing up to cope with increased breakdown demand as we head into one of the busiest weekends of the year as schools break up. RAC research points to 14.4 million cars heading off on their summer holidays from Thursday to Sunday – 5.6 million more than the same weekend in 2015. Saturday will be the busiest with an anticipated 4.5 million cars using major routes.

Williams said: “A 44% increase in road traffic accidents is a major cause for concern. There may be a wide variety of reasons for this including the increased volumes of traffic, bright evening sunshine causing glare and a distraction for drivers but we expect the biggest factor can be attributed to driver fatigue, heat exhaustion and frustration.

“So it is really important to leave plenty of time for your journey, take breaks and keep well hydrated. This is particularly an issue when the hot weather makes getting a good night’s sleep a challenge.”

The RAC advises motorists to make sure their cars are well prepared too. Carrying out some simple checks before you set out, especially if you are planning on travelling a long distance, can prevent an unwanted breakdown. The best advice is to check oil, coolant and washer fluid levels and ensure all tyres have plenty of tread. And, with Mediterranean temperatures forecast for the coming week make sure you pack plenty of refreshments for you and your passengers.