Hot days of summer mean a need for special preparation

Well, it seems the extraordinary hot spell broke today. sorta’ – maybe. A few days with record breaking highs. A record number of days in a row with triple digit highs. Mornings that don’t get anywhere near as cool as they usually do. – This generates all sorts of speculation about global warming and such but those who have been around a while know that it is summer. Every summer can have a few days of record breaking highs and a few hot spells. Plan on it. Prepare for it.

With the reliability of modern vehicles and the near universal inclusion of air conditioning, traveling in the hot days of summer, even in the desert, is no where near as uncomfortable or dangerous as it was just a few decades ago. This doesn’t mean you can ignore summer. There are some things you need to do to be prepared for contingencies and to make sure that you can enjoy the season without undue consequence.

First is to make sure your vehicles are in top shape and all preventive maintenance is on schedule. Hot weather is hard on many parts. Hoses and belts need to be inspected and replaced if suspect. Fluids need to be replaced on schedule and topped off as necessary. The air conditioner should be checked to make sure all of its parts are working properly. Tires should be inspected and pressure checked to proper levels – only in the early morning when cool.

Second is to check your equipment inventory. You should always have drinking water available so carry a jug with a gallon or two. Everyone should have a good hat and UV blocking sunglasses. Carry a good suntan lotion and use it to protect skin from the sun. Review first aid procedure so you know the signs of heat distress and what to do when you see them. Be prepared to be somewhat comfortable if you do get stuck out in the middle of the desert for a few hours.

Third is to take care of yourself. Everyone needs loose fitting clothing. The driver, at least, should wear a long sleeved shirt and perhaps even gloves to protect arms and hands from sunburn while driving. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages but do make sure to drink enough to avoid dehydration. Get a good sleep at night and take naps as needed during the day so you drive alert and alive. Don’t eat heavy as that will make you drowsy and often a full stomach and hot weather don’t go together very well.

The high desert sun and winds need due respect. With proper preparation and appropriate care you can enjoy your outing and get back home with good memories.

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