Picture it! It’s a lovely sunny day and you fancy a light hearted relaxing drive out to the countryside…with your car’s top down! What could possibly be better?

Not only can this be fun but, think about it, you’ll get the sun shining down on you too! You’ll also be out in the wonderful fresh air, experiencing those many varied pungent and fresh countryside smells. Not to mention the views of the deeply colourful landscape, trees and mountains. But, of course, that’s when you actually get to those countryside roads! To get to them in the first place – and the beautiful scenery that then awaits you – there could be many miles of busy ‘A’ roads ahead of you.

If you’ve read the exciting story in Beth Harbison’s book “Driving with the Top Down“, you may be wondering if you’ll have a journey as eventful as her main characters did or you may be content with just a short spin. Either way there are some things you should be aware of. For example, your hearing!

countrysideExperts suggest that when driving with your roof down on a road heavy with traffic, you could be exposing yourself to potentially damaging noise levels, resulting in hearing loss. Cruising at 55mph exposes you to noise levels equivalent to a busy booming night club or a full on active building site! The faster you go the more damage you might cause to your ears. This is because when you pass a large number of heavy, noisy lorries, coaches and vans – and noisy motorbikes too – there is a constant high level of noise.

When you reach the countryside roads however, you can relax and (observing speed limits and respecting countryside codes and rules) enjoy the wind blowing through your hair.

So you and perhaps your passenger(s), can make the most of the countryside roads, park up and enjoy! Even on a pleasant Autumn day or a crisp winter day, a journey with the top down can still be fun, although you may have to give more thought to what you wear, of course.

Whatever the weather, it’s always good to be prepared and have with you garments that will protect you from strong sunshine rays, whilst keeping you cosy on those chillier days. Think about the following for example.

Clothing to wear when driving with the top down

harris tweed baker boy cap

Image: Mens Harris Tweed Baker Boy Cap RightHerringbone, Middle – Green, RightGold

It’s often hard to make a choice which hat to wear when driving with the top down! One that is extremely popular for the older gentleman is the Harris Tweed baker boy cap. And for the ladies to keep your ears warm, how about the Hoggs of Fife faux fur caledonia tweed headband.

hats for women

Image: RightHoggs Caledonia Tweed Faux Fur Headband, MiddlePomPom, RightHoggs of Fife Ranger Waterproof Fleece Lined Hat

scarfTo help protect your neck area, and especially around the back of your neck, consider fleece or waterproof snood, lightweight neck gaiters, scarves or neck warmers. Making the right purchase means you can look great whilst protecting yourself from the elements. Choose between knitted or fleece scarves, depending upon your own preference.

When considering what jacket and top to wear with the top down, you may want to think about a wind-resistant fleece jacket to keep you warm, such as the Hoggs of Fife Working Climate pullover. Alternatively, you could choose from a driving_top_downlightweight fleece, a bodywarmer, a basecamp fleece or perhaps a traditional V-neck pullover. Ideal for those pleasant but chillier Autumn/winter journeys!

Not everyone likes to drive wearing gloves, but if you do, options include unlined leather gloves, fleece lined gloves, thermal waterproof gloves or magic gripper gloves. It’s always a good idea to purchase gloves that offer comfort but will ensure a good grip on your steering wheel too. (Depends on the material used in the manufacture of your steering wheel or the cover you may have on it).

Some obvious bits and pieces to have with you (so obvious that it’s easy to forget them) include:

  • a good pair of sunglasses

    Essential kit for any travel pack - The Spork

    Spork – is it a spoon, a knife or a fork?? You decide!

  • ear plugs
  • ear warmers or wrap around muffs
  • a good flask and a ‘spork’ (handy for that bag of chips on the way home!)
  • a first aid kit
  • a pair of binoculars (make the most of the view)
  • a picnic blanket
  • sun cream
  • additional layers of clothing
  • a decent rucksack to carry everything
  • dog pooh bags (if you take your four legged mate with you)
  • hand wipes

…and perhaps a hairbrush too!

Just one more thing. There is a debate amongst drivers and experts alike whether windows should be up or down when driving with the top down. (Remember from time to time leaves and debris can blow into your car) Well it appears that many ‘in the know’ suggest driving with the windows half way down! Your choice, but it’s always worth trying to reduce those noise levels!

Enjoy your time in the countryside, take in the glorious views and, of course, drive safely!