Two for the Road USA
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Two For The Road

February 14, 2013
 

Tips for Safe Desert Driving

For anyone doing a lot of desert driving from off-roading to commuting every day in Phoenix the heat can seriously damage and significantly wear on your car. Engines overheat when temperatures hit 115 degrees and higher. In high heat tires are more likely to blow out. And if you do have car problems on the freeway in the dead of summer, changing that tire, for example, will be a miserably hot, sweaty and unpleasant experience.

SUV: The Desert Vehicle

Avoid a breakdown on the freeway or in the middle of the Saguaro Desert and buy the best car for the tough desert terrain and climate. For off-roading enthusiasts, an SUV is one of the the best options. Not only is this type of vehicle available in 4-wheel drive, they are reliable and easy to repair. Phoenix Nissan offers SUVs that are great for driving in Arizonas harsh desert and making the daily trek to-and-from work more comfortable, safe and dependable.

Love going off the beaten path? The 4X4 drive helps trudge up steep hills and maintains control on uneven ground. SUVs are built for a larger clearance between the bottom of the car and the ground, which is necessary for rolling over sizeable rock out in the desert. The higher clearance will also help prevent your vehicle from getting trapped in potholes and flooded roads.

Desert Driving Tips

If you’re not in the market for a new car, follow these basic safety measures that help prevent a breakdown, keeping you and your passengers safe if stranded in the middle of nowhere.

  • Always store plenty of water in the car. Keep about two gallons of water for each passenger. Also, an overheated engine in the desert can cause serious car trouble. Keep distilled water or pre-mixed coolant in your car to remedy an overheated engine.
  • Never drive until you’re completely empty on gas. A good rule of thumb is to forecast your next stop for gas when your car is already at the halfway mark.
  • Keep in mind that the desert reaches cold temperatures at night, especially outside of cities and towns. Keep a blanket or extra jacket in the car just in case of an emergency.
  • Do not leave your car if a breakdown happens. You’ll waste energy in an already exhausting desert environment. The chances of getting lost or hurt increase dramatically. Unless you are truly in the middle of the wilderness, its likely someone will drive by. Wait for help or call for roadside assistance.

While driving in the desert, from gravel street roads and interstate highways to statewide road trips and daily work commutes, pay attention to signs that your car is on the fritz, such as noticeable power loss, stalling while stopping and a lit “check engine” light. Also, when was your vehicle’s last tune up? A tune up includes a visual engine inspection, filter replacements and system cleanings. After a tune up, your car will drive better and more reliably.

Written By:
Summer Healy

Summer loves to write about the latest tech and auto trends. She may be a woman, but she knows her cars and SUVs, and as a part-time used car salesperson, she knows how to sell you the car you want for the price she wants you to pay.