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Are you embarking on a road trip that’ll take you through a barren desert in Nevada, Wyoming, or Idaho? While the desert is beautiful, it can also be dangerous for cars and drivers. Stay safe while driving in the desert by following these tips.
Inspect the Vehicle’s Condition
Before heading out on your trip across an uninhabited and unforgiving desert, ensure your vehicle is in good enough condition to make the trek. A long road trip through the intense heat of the desert in the American Southwest is punishing on a car, and if it’s not in top form, it could break down and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Coolant is integral to preventing your engine from overheating, but driving for hours in intensely hot weather can quickly overheat your engine. Be sure to check your car’s fluid levels to ensure they’re ready for the challenge. You’ll also want to check the battery’s condition, as it’s also susceptible to extreme heat buildup. If the battery is older and near the end of its utility, consider replacing it before embarking on your journey.
Don’t Forget About Your Tires
The tires are another aspect of your car that you shouldn’t overlook during the inspection. The intense heat can do a number on your tires, and if they’re already worn down, they can blow out under extreme pressure and heat.
Before the trip, you may want to consider swapping out your general, all-purpose tires for summer performance tires. Summer tires offer many benefits in hot climates, such as their resistance to even the most intense heat.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
While you certainly don’t plan on experiencing an emergency during your trip, you want to ensure you’re prepared if something does happen. If your car malfunctions or you get in an accident while in the desert, it could be hours before help arrives or you can get to safety.
You should pack a least a day’s worth of water for you and your passengers, along with non-perishable food like nuts, dried fruit, or jerky. You should always have a first aid kit in your vehicle, and emergency automotive equipment like a spare tire, jumper cables, and extra coolant for emergencies.
Watch for Dust Storms
An important tip for staying safe while driving in the desert is to watch for dust storms. If you’ve never experienced one, suddenly coming upon a dust storm is frightening and dangerous as your visibility becomes severely compromised.
Watch for dust storm warnings as you prepare to leave for your trip. If you do encounter a storm, pull over immediately and switch your lights on. Dust storms only last a few minutes, so remember not to leave your car and just stay put until it passes.