Prepare yourself and your vehicle before driving in extreme heat

Take water, sun protection along with items protecting against COVID-19

PHOENIX – In addition to disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and other essentials to protect against COVID-19, those taking to state highways these days need to prepare themselves, their vehicles and their passengers in case they become stranded in extreme heat. 

Highway photo extreme heatAt a minimum, that means taking extra drinking water for everyone, including pets, and a fully charged cellphone. Also think about having an umbrella for shade. 

It’s always important to be ready for a breakdown, flat tire or some other reason for delay, but that need is even more critical in extreme heat. 

The Arizona Department of Transportation’s tips for driving in extreme temperatures include: 

Have sun protection: In addition to an umbrella, take sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat and wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing.

  • Fuel up: Keep your tank at three-quarters full. Running out of gas, especially in a remote location, is dangerous in extreme heat.
     
  • Hydrate: 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. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays hydrated.
     
  • Get help: 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.
     
  • Wait safely: If the temperature inside your vehicle becomes 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. If you are stopped along the highway, raise the front hood and turn on hazard lights. Please keep in mind that parking in tall brush can start a fire.
     
  • Check your vehicle: 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 under inflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout.

More ADOT tips for traveling in extreme heat are available at azdot.gov/extreme-heat.

To learn how to protect yourself and your family against COVID-19, please visit the Arizona Department of Health Services website at azdhs.gov.