It’s true that everywhere gets hot in the summer, but you haven’t really experienced heat until you’ve lived through an Arizona summer. If you’re planning on traveling to or through the Southwest, here are a few tips to keep in mind when preparing for the triple digit drive.

What to Expect

Just as you’ll have to work harder to keep your cool in the desert, so will your car. To avoid an overheated vehicle, take your car in for an inspection before the trip to check the coolant levels, battery life, and tire pressure and wear. Call your insurance company or AAA to add roadside assistance. This is something that you’ll seriously regret not having if you need it.

What to Do

  • • Keep an eye on the temperature gauge – if it’s in the red, try to get somewhere to turn your car off, let it cool off, and check the coolant levels
  • • In older cars, the coolant tank is in the radiator. DO NOT open the cap until your car is cooled unless you want a serious burn.
  • • Keep a bottle of pre-mixed coolant in your trunk
  • • Fill a cooler with water and snacks in the trunk. When you think you have enough water for everyone…bring some more.
  • • Offer your pup lots of water. If it’s hot and your dog isn’t panting, that means it’s dehydrated.

The last place you want to spend your trip is on the side of the road in the heat with no AC. If you do find your car overheating, it is most important to safely pull off the road and shut your car off. If you see any smoke, you’ll need to wait for your car to cool before you lift the hood. This will take about half an hour – so call your roadside assistance immediately, as that’s how long it’ll take for help to arrive.

Extreme Heat: Stay Healthy

If you’re facing the conditions by choice, such as by hiking or enjoying a day at the lake, then your biggest concern is keeping heat exhaustion at bay.

  • • If you’re going to be outdoors for a long period of time, bring (and drink) a gallon of water per person
  • • Wear light, loose fitting clothes and a lightweight hat
  • • Don’t travel alone and always bring a phone
  • • Never leave a child or animal in a car with the engine off

The idea of heat exhaustion can sound scary, but if you’re prepared and stay hydrated, there’s nothing to worry about. After all, there are some great summer events in the Southwest that you won’t want to miss! Check out…