Tips for Driving in Summer

Summer Driving Tips: Summer distractions and other practical tips for driving in hot temperatures on the Costa del Sol, tolls, typical summer fines or dog in the car, you’ll find this very useful!

Summer Driving Tips

With the high temperatures in the south of Spain, it is a good idea to take it easy, combined with a good dose of humour. In addition, we have prepared a series of useful tips for a pleasant and safe driving experience.

convertible hire Malaga
Photo courtesy of our client
  • Avoid travelling in the middle of the day, as this is the hottest time of day. The ideal temperature for driving is between 19ºC and 24ºC. Driving at higher temperatures causes fatigue, drowsiness, increased reaction time and stress levels.

All our cars have air conditioning.

  • Try to keep the temperature inside the car between 19ºC and 24ºC. Avoid direct airflow against the chest and keep the windows closed so that the temperature inside the car does not change. Try to park in the shade.
  • Carry cold drinks for hydration, especially water and soft drinks, as cold drinks reduce fatigue. Never drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Wear sunglasses: In summer there are long hours of sunshine and its intensity can dazzle at dusk when the sun shines in front of you.
driving in summer
Polarised sunglasses in Malaga are not a bad idea. Photo El Pais
  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Footwear should also be comfortable but fitted to the foot, so do not drive with flip-flops, sandals without support… Ideally, you should have some footwear stored in the boot for use when driving.
  • Never for a moment leave a child or pet alone in a car exposed to the sun. Children’s body temperature rises much faster than adults’ because they do not have the ability to regulate it.

Heat stress

drining in summer. heat stress
Heat stress can cause nausea, fatigue, cramps, extreme exhaustion and even fainting. Photo Neomotor

Prolonged high temperatures in Malaga in summer cause many people heat stress. The body has difficulty regulating the temperature downwards.

  • Heat stress can cause nausea, fatigue, cramps, extreme exhaustion and even fainting.
  • And it also affects us psychologically: we lose patience more easily and become more irritable. This is something to bear in mind when driving in the summer on Malaga’s roads, which are very busy with a high volume of holidaymakers.

Many of them, stressed and distracted too. And a few of them are driving recklessly and flouting the rules.

So, always keep your head cool when driving on the Costa del Sol in summer.


driving in bikini
The heat in combination with this view is going to take away more than one driver’s concentration. Photo Humor Blog

And finally, summer distractions: distractions at the wheel are the main cause of accidents.

If you were more attracted by this phot than the title: Make an effort to keep your eyes focused on the road.

Because – be warned – at this time of year there are plenty of pretty girls (and pretty boys!) scantily clad all along the coastline.

Never leave your dog in the car

dog in parked car
The car becomes a death trap in a few minutes. Photo La Vanguardia

If you love your dog, never leave it in the parked car in summer.

A car can heat up as fast as an oven, reaching 47ºC in an hour, even if it is only 22ºC outside.

With the very high summer temperatures in Malaga, the car becomes a death trap in just a few minutes.

It’s no good leaving the window down a few centimetres or parking in the shade. Don’t you believe us? Try it in person. See how you feel after 15 minutes. We’re not joking about this. Every year there are still unnecessary deaths from heat stroke of animals locked in parked cars.

Is it legal to break the window to help a dog in distress?

The most important thing first: Breaking a car window if we see that the dog is in agony is not illegal. But by causing damage to the vehicle, the owner can report us.

The national police, via its Twitter account, asks that if “you see an animal locked up and in a dangerous situation, call 091“.

Emergencies: 112

That is, if we see that the situation is not yet dangerous, we can try to locate the owner of the vehicle. If this is impossible, we call the police.

Breaking a car window when we see a pet in distress is justified, but we can be reported.

First aid for dogs

Hopefully no one will ever find themselves in this situation. But we can save a life if we know how to act.

1- Move the dog to a cool, shaded area.

2- Pour cool water over the dog. If possible, you can also use wet towels or place them in the breeze from a fan.

3- Let the dog drink small amounts of cold water.

4- Continue pouring cold water over the dog until its breathing begins to calm down, but not so much that it starts to shiver.

5- Once the dog is cooled down, take it to the nearest veterinarian urgently.

dog summer driving
Have a happy summer for your dog too. Photo Marca

Summer driving: How to save fuel

Mini cabrio
Photo courtesy of our client

With petrol at a premium, saving on fuel is a good tip for cutting costs on our summer holidays.

  • Check tyre pressure regularly. Low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance considerably, increasing fuel consumption.
  • Avoid parking in the sun and use sunshades (silver ones are the most effective at reflecting the sun). In a guarded car park, you can leave the window open a few millimetres to allow air to circulate in the passenger compartment.
  • Don’t waste time looking for parking. Sometimes we drive around for 20 minutes looking for the perfect car park next to the beach. And every minute we waste is also money that goes up in smoke. If you want to save on petrol, park wherever you can (which is difficult enough in summer in Malaga) and walk the remaining metres.

Cooling the passenger compartment

An effective trick to cool the car down a few degrees after parking in the sun: Open only the front left window and the rear right window or vice versa.

This way, the airflow in the interior is maximised. When all 4 windows are opened, the resulting turbulence prevents air flow inside the passenger compartment.

As soon as most of the excess heat in the passenger compartment has been ventilated out, close the windows and switch on the air conditioning.

Efficient driving

By practising efficient driving, it is possible to save up to 15% on fuel, simply by following these tips:

  • Use engine braking: downshifting instead of braking stops fuel consumption almost completely.
  • Use high gears, even in town you can use fourth gear without exceeding the speed limit.

Windows down or air conditioning?

driving in summer
Windows down or air conditioning? Depends on the speed of the car. Photo Freepik

This is one of the classic summer questions. Well, depending on the speed of the car, it will be better to use the air conditioning or roll down the windows:

  • Air conditioning is very expensive at low speeds. Therefore, it is best to use it on the motorway.
  • Lowered windows at high speeds affect the aerodynamics of the car and therefore also increase fuel consumption. Therefore, it is best to drive in the city or up to 70 km/h with the windows down.

Malaga motorway tolls in summer

During the high season months, the two motorways in Malaga raise their fares considerably.

  • The most frequented motorway in Malaga is the AP-7 Costa del Sol which runs along the coast from Fuengirola to Manilva.
  • The AP-46 Las Pedrizas connects the Costa del Sol with the interior and is the main gateway for tourism from other provinces and the rest of the country.

Both the AP-7 Costa del Sol and the AP-46 Las Pedrizas increase their tolls by more than 50% during the summer months, when the number of users almost doubles.
These rates are valid from 1 June to 30 September for light vehicles (motorbike, passenger car, van or minibus).

On the AP-7 Costa del Sol specifically there are 3 control points (Calahonda, San Pedro and Estepona) and the price will depend on the kilometres travelled between these municipalities.

The AP-46 Las Pedrizas is one of the few in the country that can be used free of charge at night, specifically between 00 am and 6 am for all light vehicles, and between 10 pm and 8 am for heavy vehicles.

Below is a breakdown of all the rates.

Toll rates for light vehicles in 2023

Toll rates motorways malaga for light vehicles in 2023

If you prefer to drive alternatively on the free N-340 and A-7 that runs parallel to the coast of Malaga, we recommend you take a look at our article Mediterranean Motorway Malaga: A-7 versus AP-7, where we look at the advantages and disadvantages of the toll-free motorway (A-7) and the toll motorway (AP-7).

Most frequent fines in summer

typical summer fines

Can I drive in flip-flops? Shirtless? In a bikini? Can I drink water while driving? Or enjoy a refreshing ice-cream at the wheel?

If you are interested in more tips & info, we have prepared a succulent article about the most frequent summer fines in Malaga.

If you want to have the car of your choice for this summer in Malaga, don’t wait much longer!

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  • Large fleet of brand new cars.
  • Pay on arrival.
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