The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) would like to offer some summer driving and safety tips in light of the extreme temperatures throughout Arizona.
One of the many unfortunate experiences for motorists traveling in the summer heat is tire or mechanical failure.
Aside from keeping plenty of drinking water in your vehicle, along with a first aid kit, the following tips can help you prevent a tire or mechanical failure or safely respond to such a failure if one occurs.
The first thing a motorist should do to help prevent a tire or mechanical failure is to make sure their vehicle is properly maintained. The following tips can help motorists stay on track with vehicle maintenance items vital to safe summer driving:
• Follow your vehicle manufacture’s suggested maintenance schedule and guidelines. Check your vehicle’s fluid levels regularly to ensure proper levels are maintained and check belt(s) and hoses for dry or cracked appearance. Check your parking area for any oils or fluids, which may have accumulated on the ground from your vehicle, before major internal damage is done to your vehicle.
• Properly inflate your vehicle’s tires, including the spare, and check the pressure with an accurate tire gauge when you fuel up or monthly, whichever is first. When airing tires, inspect them for tire wear. Tires can lose one to 10 pounds of pressure (psi) a month.
• Rotate and balance wheels and tires once every to 6,000 to 8,000 miles if no rotation schedule is specified in the owner’s manual for your vehicle. By rotating your tires regularly, it will lengthen the life span of your tires.
However, even if you follow maintenance guidelines, your vehicle can still experience a tire or mechanical failure. The following tips can help guide your actions should your vehicle experience a failure:
· The first indication of a tire failure is a loud booming sound (blow-out), or the feel of your vehicle pulling to one side of the road along with a bumpy ride. This is an extremely important moment where it is critical that you stay calm and avoid panicking.
· Do not brake at this moment.
· Do not take your foot off of the accelerator at this moment. Instead, ease your foot into the accelerator to maintain your vehicle’s momentum or speed.
· Compensate for pull by counter steering.
· Find a safe location, preferably a freeway exit, decelerate or brake lightly, and park away from traffic. Put your hood up, and call for help or perform the tire change on your own.