In the case of an emergency, would you be able to drive away from your home, work or school with little to no notice? September is National Preparedness Month and MCDOT is encouraging all drivers to take precautions so they can be prepared in the case of a disaster or emergency.
Schedule routine maintenance
Take the opportunity this month to make sure your car is in its best operating condition.
- Check tire thread: Tire tread helps your car grip the road. Having low tire tread is especially dangerous when driving in wet conditions. One easy way is by using the penny test. Insert a penny into your tire's tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it's time to replace your tires.
- Check tire pressure: Pressure that is too low or too high can affect your vehicle’s performance. Check your tires once a month when they are still cold, using the PSI (pounds per square inch) number located on the driver door or in the owner’s manual.
- Check your fluids: Top off fluids like oil and coolant. Talk to a mechanic if you suspect a leak.
- Check your brakes: Be mindful of any signs of brake trouble including noise, pulling and vibration while braking. Have your brakes inspected by a professional once a year
- Check your battery: Maricopa County’s extreme summer temperatures can wear batteries. If your battery is more than three years old, it may need to be replaced.
Build or restock a vehicle emergency kit
Creating a vehicle emergency kit won’t take a lot of time or money, but it will provide essential equipment and food if you’re ever caught in an emergency.
Some Items to consider putting in your vehicle emergency kit include:
- Jumper cables
- Road atlas
- First-aid kit
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Drinking water
- Non-perishable food
- Battery powered crank radio with extra batteries
- Cell phone charger
- Jack for tires
- Tire pressure gauge
- Tow rope
- Windshield washer fluid
If you already have a vehicle emergency kit, now is the time to check the expiration dates on food, refresh the water and replace batteries.
Make a Family Emergency Plan
Disasters and emergencies can happen any day at any time. Create a plan for your family so everyone knows what to do and where to go should something occur. Your plan should include an established meeting point and an emergency contact person. You may also consider marking alternative routes on road maps just in case there are road closures on the way to your meeting point.