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Extreme heat could make road trips treacherous, here’s an expert’s advice

Jul 21, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Jul 27, 2022, 2:28 pm
Road trips can be dangerous in the extreme heat....
Taking a road trip when it's hot out can lead to big problems. Extreme heat can wreck havoc on your car and more. (File photo)
(File photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — Summer sizzle. Much of the country is experiencing extreme heat — the triple-digit kind. If you and your family are planning a road trip, do you know what you need to bring before you hit the highway?

Wade Mathews, Be Ready Utah program manager, joins Dave & Dujanovic to explain what to have with you and what to know as you travel in extreme heat.

Regular maintenance for your car before road trip in extreme heat

Mathews said the first thing to do before traveling is make sure your vehicle is road-worthy. Check the battery, coolant, and other fluid levels, belts, hoses, tires (including the spare), etc. Make any repairs before beginning your road trip.

“You want to prevent the disaster from happening in the first place. . . If you are broken down out in the middle of the Nevada desert, it’s going to be really difficult,” Mathews said.

The best way to beat extreme heat on a road trip

Pack a lot of water for your trip. To prevent heat illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke, cool your body by drinking water. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration, Mathews warned.

Debbie also recommended freezing bottled water before setting out on your journey.

She also suggests planning for an imperfect road trip.

Traveling with her family a few years ago from St. George to Las Vegas in July, they hit a miles-long traffic jam going over the Virgin River Gorge. They sat for hours baking in the car, she recalled.

“We did not have enough water for all of us to sit there. We had water, but we just did not have enough water,” she said. “Then on top of that, I think we had the bottles of water instead of jugs of water. There was nowhere to go. So something to consider: Plan for an imperfect road trip.”

Charge your phone before you go

Fully charge your cellphone and bring along a portable battery charger, Mathews advised.

“That’s going to be your lifeline if you’re stranded on the side of the road trying to get some help there as soon as possible,” he added.

“My adult daughters need to be reminded of that because they’re always on like 10% battery charge, and that would not be ideal if they were stuck on the side,” Debbie said.

And lastly…

Wear lightweight and light-colored clothing if you planning to be outside in extreme heat. Pack your sunscreen, too, Mathews recommended

If you are in a vehicle that breaks down, the advice is stay with the car. However, that does not mean staying inside the vehicle in extreme heat during a road trip. Mathews stresses seeking out shade if there is any.

“Even 80-degree temperature outside after an hour your car can reach 123 degrees inside. So it’s like an oven. You’re baking yourself if you stay inside that car,” he said in closing.

Find out more about preparing for emergencies at Be Ready Utah.

Related:

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Extreme heat could make road trips treacherous, here’s an expert’s advice