Arizona has what they call the Stupid Motorist Law stating that “any motorist who becomes stranded after driving around barricades to enter a flooded stretch of roadway may be charged for the cost of his/her rescue.” Sadly, this law was created because it was such a problem during the rain seasons. However, floods are not the only weather pattern that causes people to be stranded on the road in Arizona. Large dust storms known as haboobs can create zero visibility on the road. Blizzards in the mountains from Prescott to Flagstaff and across the rim to the White Mountains leave many motorists stranded annually. Thankfully, these storms generally blow over in a few hours and motorists are able to get back on the road.
If today, you had to shelter in your vehicle during a storm, wait for a tow truck in 110 degree sun or 20 degree freeze, repair a tire or jump start a dead barratry, are you prepared to do so?
In everyone one of your vehicles, we recommend the following.
Vehicle Operation Basics
- Jumper Cables
- Battery Brush
- Pressure Gauge – There are new digital gauges on the market, but I still prefer the old fashion pressure activated gauges. No batteries or electronics to get fried sitting in a 120 degree vehicle in the Arizona sun.
- Patch Kit – Simple, easy and effective! I’ve run tires for thousands of miles on a simple patch.
- Slime/Fix A Flat – Tire shops generally can’t repair ties that have had liquid tire repair products injected into them. However, I still carry them and have had to use them on more than one occasion when it was more practical to repair the tire than calling a 24 hour roadside assistance service company at a greater expense.
- Air Compressor – Auto stores sell great, compact compressors that plug into the cigarette lighter. If you have a large/long vehicle, make sure the cord is long enough to reach all 4 tires.
- Jack – There should be a small jack that came with the vehicle. Make sure you know where it is located along with the other tools required for tire changing.
- Motor Oil – At least one quart! Check the owner’s manual for the correct oil "weight."
- Road flares
- Spare key – In magnetic box hidden somewhere on the vehicle.
- Gas – Don’t wait until E to fill up, refill around ½ tank so you are never in a urgent situation of “needing” gas. With that said…
- Gas Can – At some point; nearly every driver will run out of gasoline before reaching a filling station. If you travel in an enclosed vehicle, don’t travel with the can full. But keep at least a one gallon can (or 2.5 gallon if you can carry it full) that is a certified gasoline container so you can walk to the nearest location for fuel. Don’t take for granite all gas stations carry a gas can or will have them in stock when you come walking up on foot.
- Gas Syphon Pump – If able to barter gas from someone else in a vehicle, being able to syphon a gallon out of their tank could be a huge time saver.
- Fire Extinguisher
- Tool Kit – Nothing fancy, just the basics. Most of these can be purchases as kits at any auto supply or hardware store.
- Ball peen hammer
- Channel Locks
- Allen wrench set
- Socket Set
- Hose Repair Patch
Non Vehicle Operation related items
- Map or Gazetteer to route alternative paths as storms can interfere with cell and G.P.S. services. Take vehicle clearance, tire tread and gas mileage into consideration when searching alternate routes if they take you onto dirt roads.
- Cell Phone Charger
Cooler – Arizona is a beautiful state but it also gets hot! Having a cooler on hand to stock up for an impromptu road trip on a back road or to keep meat/perishable items cold on the commute home is a must have in my book! Here are a few collapsible models that work great.
First Aid Kit
Bio Waste Bag – You never know when you’ll need to go! Not the ideal situation but at least you will have the privacy of your vehicle. www.biffybag.com
Matches and/or Lighter
Multi Tool Pocket Knife
CB Radio – I know that sounds old school and outdated, but it’s still a very useful devise on the road and used by many emergency services for communication.
Don’t forget your Must Have When Leaving the House
- Kelty Coolers
- californ Iainnovations
Country Boy's Tool Box – If you have room or drive a pick-up truck with a tool box, I like to carry:
- Hi-Lift Jack – Accessories may be necessary depending on your vehicle. www.hi-lift.com
- Tow Strap
- Chain – At least 20 feet
- Saw – There are some great folding wood saws for space saving
If you are reading this, you are probably familiar with “bug-out bags” that are designed for the ultimate emergency situations where no planning or packing time is available before evacuation is mandatory. Due to how much driving I do in a week, I carry mine in my truck 24/7. In the event of being stranded and waiting for emergency services was not an option, gab your bag and bug-out! For more information see our Bug-Out bag article.
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For more information on emergency preparedness, visit our Home Preparedness Resource Guide.