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Arizona travel expert breaks down 'Monsoon Checklist' before drivers head out in stormy weather

Rain abc15
Posted at 5:00 AM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 08:25:23-04

PHOENIX — Road safety begins before a driver even turns on their engine.

AAA Arizona is hoping that people will watch the weather and use it as a warning to check some things around their vehicle ahead of time, with a focus on fuel, tires, and windshield wipers.

"During monsoon season... we're getting hit with a double-whammy," explained Aldo Vazquez with AAA Arizona.

He tells ABC15 that drivers in this area have a lot more to think about.

For checking the vehicle's tires, Vazquez offers an at-home tip that only requires a quarter.

"Just take the quarter to check the tread of your vehicle and then you place the quarter upside down," Vazquez described. "And if you can see the top of Washington's head, that's a good sign that you need to get...your tires changed."

The tread of the tires is very important. Operation Safe Roads talked about hydroplane safety just last week.

How to steer clear of hydroplaning during a monsoon storm

"It's said that our tires need to displace about a gallon of water per second... for your vehicle to meet the road and reduce your risk of hydroplaning, even when there's 1/12th of an inch of water on the road," Vazquez said.

From there, he suggests moving inside the car to check your windshield wipers.

"They should be clearing your windshield," Vazquez said. "And if they're leaving any streaks or they're missing any spots, it's time to change them." Which, in sunny Arizona, is every three months.

Also, Vazquez stresses the importance of filling up the gas tank before it gets below a quarter tank.

"A lot of us let our gas tank run down to empty and that's one of the worst things we could possibly do," Vazquez said.

In case of an emergency, AAA Arizona suggests also keeping a safety kit in the car that is packed with a first aid kit, snacks, water, phone chargers, and reflective gear.

What to do after a storm hits

"What you do after a storm is just as important as what you do before a storm," Vazquez said.

While the monsoon rain may seem like the free "car wash" drivers have been looking for, AAA Arizona says that is not the case.

"Any water that's being picked up as you're driving... that's collecting oil, chemicals," Vazquez said.

Monsoon Road Safety Checklist: What to do after a storm

He explained how the sky shower could do more harm than good.

"Not only can rain bring down water, but it's combing with a lot of chemicals in the air and pollutants... Acid rain and that can deteriorate the paint on your vehicle," Vazquez explained.

The longer a driver goes without washing the car, the more damage that can be done.

If anything, drivers are advised to dry off their vehicle if they cannot make it to a car wash.

Have a road issue or a question for Operation Safe Roads to investigate? Email or call 833-AZ-ROADS.