With extreme heat forecast, prepare yourself, your vehicle
Fully charged cellphone, extra water are just a start
With extreme heat in the forecast for much of Arizona, it’s especially important for drivers to plan before taking to state highways, starting with having a fully charged cellphone and extra drinking water for all passengers, including pets.
Even though your vehicle has air conditioning, be ready in case you must spend extended time on the highway due to a breakdown or some other reason for delay. That starts with having sun protection, including sunscreen, an umbrella for shade, a wide-brimmed hat and loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing, according to a news release from the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Keep your tank at three-quarters full. Running out of gas, especially in a remote location, is dangerous in extreme heat.
Take a cooler to keep extra drinking water cold, and consider adding several frozen bottles of water to use for cooling off or to thaw and drink if needed.
If your vehicle breaks down in extreme heat, call for assistance right away to reduce wait time, and run the AC. If the AC isn’t working, roll down all windows.
Other recommendations if you are stranded along the highway:
• DRINK WATER. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays hydrated.
• If temperatures inside the vehicle become too hot, everyone, including pets, should exit carefully and seek out or create a shaded area as far away from the travel lanes as possible.
• Be careful walking on the road surface, which can be hot enough to burn skin. Keep your shoes on and try to keep your pets’ paws off the pavement.
• Raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights.
You can help avoid breakdowns and blowouts by making sure your vehicle is in good operating condition. Check your air conditioner and coolant levels, top off any vital engine fluids and make sure your battery is up to par. Check your tire pressure, as the combination of underinflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout.
More ADOT tips for traveling in extreme heat are available at azdot.gov/extreme-heat.