Many parts of the country’s Southwest can be challenging if you break down while on a long drive. If you get stuck on a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of the summer, you could be in for a very long, hot wait.
You should be prepared for every eventuality and don’t assume you are going to get help quickly if you do break down.
The Southwest Climate for Motorists
The Southwest is the hottest part of the country with significantly hazardous conditions if you break down anywhere in summer on a desert road. Summers in the interior are invariably hot, while the California coast is cool and often foggy.
Winters on the coast are mild, but can be much colder in the interior. The Sierras and other mountain areas further east have their own climate with sometimes unpredictable weather.
Summer thunderstorms and severe tornados are common in the Eastern parts of this region.
Your Southwest Auto Emergency Kit
Your Southwest auto safety gear should have everything you need in case of a breakdown, or crash. It takes only a few minutes to pack everything you need into a small pack which you can stow in the trunk.You’ll be glad you had it.
Every motorist should have the following:
- spare 2 gallon gas canister;
- set of 3 reflective triangles to place in front and rear of your car to alert other motorists;
- spare tire and jack tire pressure valve and foot pump; can of emergency sealant (usually only seals once);
- basic tool kit with wenches, spanners, screwdrivers, pliers;
- cell phone charged before you set out and 12V auto charger;
- spare engine oil, automatic transmission fluid and brake fluid;
- jumper cables.
Seasonal Emergency Gear
In the summer, the heat can be a major problem if you're stuck out on the road. In this type of scenario, you may want to bring things like these:
- plenty of drinking water, generally enough for each passenger for 12 or more hours;
- shade cloth or PVC tarp and rope which you can erect to keep the sun off the car or where you are sitting on the side of the road;
- if you're in the desert, you may also want to pack blankets and warmer clothes as nights can be close to freezing.
If traveling in winter, your kit should also contain:
- bag of cat litter which can be used to place under tires for better traction in the snow;
- snow shovel;
- windscreen ice scraper;
- non-perishable high calorie food.
- cable and winch for pulling car out of snow drift or flooded creek;
- warm clothing and footwear.
The California coast might seem an easy place to drive around. All you need to do is keep an eye on the traffic.
But when you head inland you are likely to pass through some very isolated areas where it might be difficult to find help if your car breaks down. It’s impossible to be prepared for every emergency but you can certainly make things easier for yourself by packing the right kind of safety gear every time you head out.