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Extreme heat safety and preparation on the roads

Posted at 10:17 PM, Jun 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-18 01:17:21-04

The Arizona Department of Transportation is reminding drivers to be extra prepared if their cars aren't necessarily equipped to handle the extreme heat this week. They recommend all drivers have a fully charged cell phone, extra water, as well as sunscreen, a first aid kit, and healthy snacks -- among a variety of other things.

These precautions -- in case a car were to break down along the highway, leaving a person or persons stranded in the extreme heat.

Jaime Castro is a truck driver, who's gone back and forth between Los Angeles and Miami on I-10 for 20 years. He explained that during the summertime, especially in Arizona, he notices more car breakdowns along the interstate.

"It's because of the heat in the pavement, and on the road," he said.

Whether it's cars overheating or breaking down for other reasons, Castro believes the usual suspect for car problems is the tires.

"Mostly tires. Tires, they explode on the highway," he said. "So you see a lot of debris on the highway from the tires."

John Amstutz is the service manager at BrakeMax. He explained during times of excessive heat, it's important to pay attention to all aspects of the car, from the air conditioning to brakes. Similar to Castro though, he explained paying attention to the tires is crucial.

"Make sure you've got correct air pressure in your tires," Amstutz said. "Make sure you've got good tire tread depth."

He also mentioned if a person plans on being on the road for a prolonged period of time, they should top off their engine fluids as well, especially the coolant.

"If coolant levels are low, you're going to great more pressure, higher pressures, which could cause overheating," he said. "Or in a worse case scenario, maybe a radiator hose blowing off or something like that, which could leave you stranded."

Back to the seasoned truck driver, he offered a few words of wisdom so drivers don't end up stranded on the side of the road under the blistering sun.

"Stop every 3-4 hours," he said. "Stop and check. Make sure you check your vehicle."