Plan ahead for warmer weather travel on Arizona’s highways

Photo Courtesy ADOT: Prepare for warm weather while traveling on Arizona’s highways.

Having emergency prep kit in vehicle is a year-round smart idea

Contributed Article/Courtesy ADOT

PHOENIX – We’ve had a taste of hot weather across Arizona in recent weeks. According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, it serves as a great reminder for drivers to prepare for highway travel under higher temperatures.

Just like ADOT reminds travelers each fall to prepare an emergency preparation kit in case of winter weather conditions, the same recommendation holds true for the rest of the year. Especially when temperatures will continue that inevitable climb in the coming weeks.

Many of the items in a kit will remain the same year-round. You should pack items that help keep you comfortable and safer in case your vehicle breaks down or an unscheduled closure happens and traffic is stopped due to crashes, disabled vehicles, or even wildfires.

It’s important to follow health and safety protocols during the current health situation. Don’t forget to bring face coverings and use them when appropriate while traveling. 

Here are some of the items you’ll want to pack for warmer weather travel:

Photo Courtesy ADOT: These items should be in motorists’ weather warming prep kits.
  • Extra drinking water in case an unscheduled stop in traffic occurs. Packing water on ice in a cooler also is a good idea
  • Fully charged mobile device and charger
  • An extra blanket or two. Maybe not for keeping warm but possibly for kneeling on if changing a tire. A blanket also is a good component of overall first aid supplies.
  • A well-stocked first-aid kit
  • Hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, and an extra set of loose-fitting cotton clothing
  • An umbrella for use in sun or rain
  • Bring a paper map in case cellular service is not available
  • In case of travel delays, bring an adequate amount of prescription medications
  • Healthy snack foods
  • Other items you may be glad you packed include a flashlight, extra batteries, and extra diapers

Take steps to limit problems with your vehicle. Having engine fluid levels, fan belts and tire pressure checked ahead of time could save you risky time spent along a busy or lonely stretch of highway. Proper tire pressure is important for reducing the risk of a blowout in hot weather.

This also is a good time to check the condition of your windshield wipers. It’s also wise to not let your gas tank level drop too low.

ADOT also asks that you be a smart, safe driver. Aggressive speeding, tailgating, or unsafe lane changes are a recipe for tragedy. Get plenty of rest before heading out on a trip. Never drive while impaired, whether by alcohol or prescription medications that can cause drowsiness.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov, by calling 511. Updates also are available on ADOT’s Twitter feed, @ArizonaDOT. When a freeway closure or other major traffic event occurs, the free app for ADOT Alerts, available at ADOTAlerts.com, will send critical information directly to app users in affected areas and, when possible, in advance of alternate routes. 

ADOT has more on the agency’s Extreme Weather Safety site. You’re likely to be a much happier camper if you prepare an emergency kit in advance and travel knowing you should expect the unexpected.

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