In certain parts of the country, drivers must prepare for the hazards caused by winter. In Arizona, the summer’s extreme heat can also play havoc on its drivers.
Here’s how to prepare for the challenges of driving in Arizona’s hot desert summers, courtesy of the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT).
Before you head out, know which route you’re going to take. Give your travel plans to someone you trust, including your destination, the route you plan to travel, and the time you expect to arrive.
Fill your gas tank, and top it off whenever it drops below three-quarters of a tank. Large stretches of Arizona highway have few gas stations, and running out of fuel in extreme heat can quickly prove fatal for an unprepared driver.
Finally, check the weather before you head out, and pay attention to the weather while driving. Storms in Arizona, including dust storms, can appear quickly.
Prepare Your Vehicle
Before you embark on an Arizona road trip this summer:
- Have your car’s battery tested and replaced if needed. Extreme heat can sap a battery faster than many drivers expect.
- Double-check your coolant levels and top off coolant if needed. Consider carrying an extra bottle of coolant in your car in case you need it.
- Check and adjust other vital engine fluids like oil and transmission fluid.
- Finally, check your tires and make certain they’re inflated to the level recommended by the manufacturer, which is typically printed on the side of the tire. Underinflated tires on hot pavement can easily cause a blowout.
Then, make sure your vehicle is stocked with the items you’ll need in case of a breakdown. These include:
- A fully-charged cell phone. Backup cell phone chargers can be helpful as well.
- Extra drinking water for everyone in the vehicle, including pets. A cooler with frozen water bottles can help keep drinking water cold and provide extra water as the bottles thaw.
- Sources of shade: an umbrella and a wide-brimmed hat
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Extra water for the radiator, separate from drinking water
- A first-aid kit, a flashlight, and a travel tool kit including battery cables
- A road map.
Don’t forget any personal items you need for your trip either, such as your medication or luggage. Packing road flares ensure other drivers can see your vehicle in the dark in case of a breakdown.
With these preparations in place, you’ll minimize the chances of a breakdown, and you’ll have the tools you need if an accident or breakdown does occur. If you have to stop for any reason, try to find shade for everyone in the car, including pets, and call 911 for emergency assistance.