Going on a road trip in the scorching heat, an expert has some tips and advice

SALT LAKE CITY — The sizzle of summer. Much of the country is experiencing extreme heat — in the triple-digit kind. If you and your family are planning a road trip, do you know what to pack before hitting the highway?

Wade Mathews, Be Ready Utah Program Manager, joins Dave & Dujanovic to explain what to have with you and what to know when traveling in extreme heat.

Perform regular vehicle maintenance before road trip

Mathews said the first thing to do before traveling is to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Check battery, coolant and other fluid levels, belts, hoses, tires (including spare tire), etc. Make the repairs before you start your journey.

“You want to prevent disaster from happening in the first place. . . If you’re down in the middle of the Nevada desert, it’s going to be really tough,” Mathews said.

Water: the best way to beat the extreme heat on a road trip

Pack plenty of water for your trip. To prevent heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke, cool your body by drinking water. Thirst is the first sign of dehydration, Mathews warned.

Debbie also recommended freezing bottled water before traveling.

She also suggests planning a imperfect travel by car.

Traveling with his family a few years ago from St. George to Las Vegas in July, they ran into a traffic jam several miles above the Virgin River Gorge. They sat for hours cooking in the car, she recalls.

“We didn’t have enough water for all of us to sit there. We had water, but we just didn’t have enough,” she said. “On top of that, I think we had bottled water instead of jugs of water. . . . There was nowhere to go. So something to consider: Plan an imperfect road trip.

Charge your phone before you go

Fully charge your cell phone and bring a portable battery charger, advised Mathews.

“It will be your lifeline if you get stuck on the side of the road trying to get help as soon as possible,” he added.

“My adult daughters need a reminder because they’re always at around 10% battery, and it wouldn’t be ideal if they were stuck on their side,” Debbie said.

And finally . . .

Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing if you plan to be outdoors in extreme heat. Also bring your sunscreen, Mathews recommended

If you are in a vehicle that breaks down, the advice is to stay with the car. However, that doesn’t mean staying inside the vehicle in extreme heat on a road trip. Mathews insists on seeking shade if there is any.

“Even 80 degrees outside after an hour, your car can reach 123 degrees inside. So it’s like an oven. You cook yourself if you stay inside that car,” said he said in conclusion.

Learn more about emergency preparedness at Be Ready Utah.


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Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.