With the monsoon season in full swing, many drivers may find themselves unexpectedly caught in the midst of one of these sudden, and oftentimes violent, storms.
The rapid onset of these storms can change weather conditions in an instant, causing damage to homes and placing motorists in precarious situations.
As a result, AAA would like to provide tips and information both motorists and homeowners should be aware of prior to encountering one of these summer storms:
• Check the tread on your tires. As tread wears, tires lose their ability to grip a wet surface. To check tread, place a penny in it. Adequate tread will cover most of President Lincoln’s head. If Lincoln’s head is exposed, however, it’s time to replace the tire.
• Hot and humid weather places heavy demand on batteries and the charging system. Have your battery tested and re-charge or replace it, if necessary.
• Check your windshield wipers. Direct exposure to the sun, coupled with Arizona’s dry heat, can cause wipers to crack and even fall off.
• Inclement weather creates poor visibility, making it difficult to see other drivers, and difficult for other drivers to see you. Make sure your head and brake lights are functioning properly so you can see and be seen.
If you get caught in a storm:
• Slow down. Roads become slippery when water mixes with oil, dirt and grease, making it harder to control a vehicle.
• Refrain from tailgating. Stopping distances are greater on wet, slippery roads.
• Allow extra time to get to your destination. Traffic is heavier in inclement weather.
• Refrain from driving through flooded areas. It only takes a few inches of rushing water to move a vehicle. Arizona’s “Stupid Motorist Law” allows agencies to collect up to $2,000 for water rescues if drivers get stuck after purposely drive in flooded areas.
• Exercise patience. Inclement weather results in a higher than normal call volume for AAA Roadside Assistance. This, coupled with road closures and flooding, can lead to service delays.
• If you find yourself in a storm that greatly or completely reduces your visibility, and you cannot drive safely, pull completely off the roadway and stop with your lights off. Lift your foot from the brake to ensure your brake lights are not lit. This will prevent other drivers from following your taillights, thinking you are still on the road. Never stop in the travel portion of the roadway.
Bottom line: Monsoons can command high winds, dust, heavy rain and flash floods, bringing some of the most severe weather our state experiences all year. It’s important for motorists to recognize the necessity to exercise caution during inclement weather, especially a monsoon storm.
Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.