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Hitting the road for Memorial Day? Make sure you have a spare tire

Posted at 6:11 AM, May 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-24 10:10:19-04

As thousands of Arizonans will hit the highways this Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement officials and car mechanics want to make sure everyone gets to their destinations safely.

John Coker, a manager of a Discount Tire store, says one of the most important things to do before leaving is to check out how tires are faring. Ask the questions, "how's my tire pressure? How's the tread?" There are some things people can do at home to check this out.

"Usually the best test is something that'll be really easy. You have the 'penny test,'" he said. That test involves taking a penny and seeing how far into one of the tire grooves it goes. If Abraham Lincoln's head isn't above the line, Coker says it's time to get new tires.

Next on the list, making sure your car has a spare tire. AAA research shows that about a third of new cars don't come with a spare tire. If you do have one, Coker says you need to make sure that it's actually usable.

"A lot of times, it's as old as the vehicles are," Coker said. "You want to make sure that before the six year to ten year area, that in that timeframe we maybe replace that tire. I would definitely recommend it after six years."

The Arizona Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety are prepared for a busy travel weekend, and are asking drivers to be extra cautious on the roads.

“I am calling on the public to be safe and smart this holiday weekend," AZDPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said. "Safe roads this holiday weekend begin with you. Your actions can save lives. Give yourself extra time, slow down, buckle your seatbelt, and don’t drive impaired.”

ADOT recommends people have a travel safety kit in their vehicles, just in case they get in an accident, have a breakdown, or get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic. That kit, according to ADOT, should include:

  • Water and healthy snacks for everyone in the vehicle
  • A fully charged cell phone
  • Any prescribed medications and pain relievers
  • A first-aid kit and flashlight with extra batteries
  • A travel tool kit and safety flares
  • A road map