The summer oven has been turned on across the state, so the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) reminds motorists to take precautions for driving in extreme heat. Whether embarking on a long road trip, getting away for the weekend or even commuting to work, taking a few moments to prepare for hot weather conditions could be a lifesaver.
Since unscheduled highway restrictions caused by crashes or weather conditions, such as dust storms, along with a motorist’s own vehicle breakdown, can result in lengthy travel delays, ADOT recommends drivers follow these hot-weather safety steps:
Prepare Your Vehicle
- Always carry extra water – enough for the driver, passengers and pets.
- Heat can zap your battery. Consider having it tested, especially if it’s more than three years old.
- Check engine coolant levels and add coolant if necessary. Note: Never remove your vehicle’s radiator cap when the engine is hot. It might also be time to have your air conditioning system checked.
- Check engine belts and the oil level. A broken belt can lead to an uncomfortable breakdown along the highway.
- Traveling with under- or over-inflated tires on hot pavement can lead to a blowout. Make sure your tire pressure is at the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended level. Remember to check the spare tire too.
- Check your windshield wiper blades and replace them if necessary, so they’ll work if you encounter monsoon weather.
- Prepare a “to-go” travel pack that includes a cell phone charger, hat, sunscreen, first aid kit, sunglasses, flashlight with extra batteries, snacks and, yes, a road map that can provide possible alternate routes.
Before You Travel
- Plan your travel route in advance
- Notify someone of your destination, route and anticipated arrival time
- Fill your fuel tank and avoid having the gas level get too low. Running out of gas, especially in a remote location, can be extremely dangerous.
- Before leaving on that trip in hot weather, check highway conditions on ADOT’s Travel Information site at az511.gov or call 5-1-1. The az511.gov site features real-time camera images along state highways that can help give drivers a glimpse of what can often be rapidly-changing weather conditions in various regions. If a dust storm is seen or reported, ADOT reminds drivers to “Pull Aside, Stay Alive.” Checking the National Weather Service forecast online also is a wise move.