Bertie, Bumble, Betsy and The Beast

The Summer holidays have arrived and that means many of us will be doing a lot of driving. It’s also a good time to introduce some lightheartedness. Did you know many people, especially Baby Boomers, like to name their cars? We also tend to choose colours that link to our age and gender. Remember also, cars get hot in Summer so here are some tips for keeping cool.

What’s in a name?

First, more than a quarter of people in the UK name their cars. Bertie, Bumble and Herb, Landy and Sparky are a few popular ones. Baby boomers, 55 to 72, love naming their cars Doris, Dave, Henry, Betsy and The Beast. They bought personalised plates like DOR 1S, Dav 3S, Hen 2Y and HER 81E. The Beast is the nickname for the US president’s state car.

Women are twice as likely (65%) to name their cars than men (35%). We wonder why.

What’s in a colour?

People tend to choose vehicle colours that link with their age and gender. But sometimes these colours, like grey and black, are not the best for road safety. Australia’s most popular car colour is white. Pretty boring and vanilla, but safe. It doesn’t mean Australians are boring!

What colour is your car?

  • 30% choose White for visibility, availability, resale
  • 19% prefer Silver, probably tech-related, futuristic
  • 11% want Blue, popular in ACT, women over 28
  • 10% choose black, popular in Victoria, colour of power
  • 8% prefer Grey, poor visibility so most likely to be involved in an accident
  • 7% want Red, popular with women over 58
  • 3% choose Green, the least number of accidents, popular in Tasmania
  • 12% want Others, eg, over 68s prefer gold, champagne, beige.

Beat the heat

On a more serious note, it gets hot in the car in Summer. If a car is parked in the sun, its dashboard can hit 70°C in an hour. Even inside vehicles parked in the shade, it can go up to 38°C in that time. No wonder the steering wheel gets too hot to touch.

The worst thing you can do is leave a child or pet in the car. Even on a mild 22°C day, the inside of a car can reach 47 °C in just an hour. Dogs travelling on the back of utes can also burn themselves on hot trays.

Do not keep plastic water bottles in a hot car and remember aerosols, like hairspray, can explode. A hot car can produce toxins from the floor, seat covers or door panels. Leave the doors open for a while to allow them to disperse.

How to keep your car cool

First open the windows. Then use your aircon efficiently as possible:

  • Have the aircon as cold as possible while allowing fresh air in
  • Adjust airflow so it blows into footwells
  • Drive for a few minutes until all hot air has been pushed up and out
  • When air inside is cooler than outside put windows up
  • Recycle air to keep cool
  • Let in fresh air every 2 hours.

You can also use sunshades on the front and/or rear inside windows.

Finally, drive safely this Summer. It’s crazy out there.

Corrina Baird

Writer and expert

Corrina used to lend her car to her kids and discovered first hand what Ls, Ps and demerits mean for greenslips. After 20 years of writing and research in financial services, she’s an expert in the NSW CTP scheme. Read more about Corrina

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