We may live in the middle of the desert, but we still get rain during the summer – and plenty of it. Recent monsoon-scale storms and flooded roadways have certainly tested the mettle, not to mention the patience, of Arizona motorists.
If you’re planning on hitting the road the next time the forecast calls for rain, here’s how to safely handle the situation.
- Ensure your car’s tires are up to the task
Visually inspect each of your vehicle’s tires and look for uneven wear, cracks or other signs of damage. Confirm that there’s adequate tread left to effectively displace water and maintain optimal grip over wet roads by sticking a penny head first into the tread grooves; if any part of the tread is covered by Lincoln’s head you’re good to go. If not, or if you see a series of horizontal warning bands appearing across the tread, visit a local, reputable tire shop to find a replacement set that’s best for your particular vehicle.
- Proceed with caution on wet roads
When encountering rainy conditions, turn on your car’s headlamps, slow down, and leave plenty of room between your car and the traffic ahead. If you drive a 4×4 truck, all-wheel-drive car or SUV, don’t believe it can successfully violate the laws of physics. Driving all four wheels might make a vehicle go faster on wet pavement, but it does little to improve a vehicle’s handling and nothing to bolster its braking abilities.
- Move to the right if possible
Stay in the right-hand lane of traffic to have easy access to the road shoulder if you need to pull over. There’s a good chance you’ll be passed by drivers – especially those piloting big 4×4 trucks and all-wheel-drive SUVs.
- Know what to do if you hydroplane
Drive with extreme caution to avoid hydroplaning, which is when your car loses traction over standing water. The faster you drive, the greater the chance your car will hydroplane over even a minimal amount of water on the road. Avoid sudden maneuvers and high-speed turns to prevent skidding over slick surfaces that your car’s stability control system may not be able to prevent.
If your vehicle begins to skid, stay calm and steer in the direction you want to go, maintaining a light and steady foot on the accelerator. Slamming on the brakes or overcompensating with extreme steering maneuvers is usually counter-productive when a car or truck is sliding sideways.
- Take special care when you encounter standing water
Dips in the road, viaducts and areas near rivers and streams are especially prone to flooding, and you should never assume any body of water (even a puddle) is shallow enough to safely negotiate.
If your car becomes submerged in a flood surge, unlock the doors and open the windows – your car’s power accessories should continue working for at least a minute or so – and exit through the open windows. If they won’t open, try kicking out a side or rear window. If you can’t leave via a window and water is entering the cabin, wait until the pressure is equalized on both sides of the door (usually when it’s as deep inside as it is outside) before attempting to open it.
- Heed official warnings
If you come across warning signs or barricades from safety officials, heed the warning and find an alternative route. These are often placed in front of Arroyos and washes that have been flooded or are in danger of being flooded. Most traffic rescues, injuries and deaths during monsoon season results from failing to obey posted warnings and barricades.
Not only is it dangerous to ignore these signs, it’s illegal. According to Arizona’s “Stupid Motorist Law,” any motorist who becomes stranded after driving around barricades to enter a flooded stretch of road may be charged for the cost of their rescue.
Make sure your vehicle can handle the summer rain by making an appointment at one of Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care’s 14 locations for a maintenance checkup. Right now, they’re offering a “Monsoon Madness” special, which include wipe blade replacements, a tire inspection and brake check for just $19.99.
For more than 55 years, the experts at Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care have been serving the Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley and Sierra Vista communities. Whatever your auto problems, the team at Jack Furrier has the expertise to help. They were even voted “Best Auto Repair Shop,” “Best Tire Store,” “Best Locally Owned Business” and “Best Customer Service” in the Arizona Daily Star’s 2016 Reader’s Choice awards.
If you’d like to take advantage of Jack Furrier Monsoon Madness specials, please click here for great savings. To find the Jack Furrier Tire and Auto Care location nearest you, visit JackFurriers.com.