Travelling cool in summer
While living in Queensland does require you to adapt to the often extreme high temperatures we can get during summer, that doesn’t mean you should avoid making the hotter months more comfortable for yourself.
Particularly when travelling, – be it personal or professional – keeping cool in summer is very important. This isn’t just in terms of personal comfort, but also in the name of your health. Prolonged exposure to hot temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion or, worse, a heat stroke.
Use air conditioning
It would be a rare and very confusing occurrence to come across a modern vehicle that doesn’t offer air conditioning (besides motorcycles, of course). While part of this is thanks to technological advancements, it’s also a result of understanding just how valuable air conditioning is when you’re on the open road.
Extremely hot days can cause you to sweat profusely. If left unaccounted for, the mixture of heat and high humidity can lead to a situation where your sweat fails to cool you down. If you fail to cool down, your internal body temperature will rise, a key first side effect of heat exhaustion and, later, a contributing factor to heat stroke.
Naturally, air conditioning counteracts this in a couple of ways. First of all, it replaces the heat with cool air. Secondly, air conditioning is so effective due to the fact that it actually removed humidity from the air. So with an absence of hot pockets of airborne moisture in the air, you won’t keep sweating but failing to cool down.
What is worth remembering, however, is that as air conditioning does strip the air of moisture, that in itself also contributes to dehydrating your body. So make sure you have plenty of fluids (ideally water and electrolyte-rich drinks) on you to maintain hydration.
What to do if you don’t have air conditioning
If you own an older vehicle that doesn’t have air conditioning or your vehicle’s air conditioning is currently not working, then there are measures you can take to still account for the heat. First of all, as is always important, have the aforementioned fluids with you. And, if possible, keep them in a shaded area or even an esky to keep them cool. That way the drinks won’t only help keep you hydrated, but cool you down as well.
As keeping your windows up will be out of the question (even if tinted windows do reduce the power of the sun), you’ll need to be wary of the way in which the sun shines in. Be sure to use sunscreen as this will protect you from getting sunburnt and will also reduce the intensity of how the sun feels against your skin. Take breaks whenever you’re feeling tired and try to find stops along the way where you can go inside a shop or diner to cool down and recover.
If driving during the day becomes too hot to handle, consider resting up at a motel during the day and setting out late afternoon/evening and driving through the night. With this option, however, make sure you have a good handle on where you need to drive and be certain your vehicle is in good condition so that you don’t end up getting lost or breaking down on a deserted road in the middle of the night.
Regardless of the reason behind you travelling during summer, remember that your health comes first. Stay cool, keep your fluids up and stop when you need to stop. The world will not end and things most certainly will not fall apart from taking a break when necessary.