Here Comes the Sun – 7 Tips for Better Driving in Phoenix

Anyone who has been to Phoenix – or any other city in Arizona – can’t help but be impressed by how wide and straight the roads are. So much of what makes driving difficult elsewhere is absent in the land of sun. The weather is great, it doesn’t rain very often and almost never snows.

But there are a few things you need to do if you want to drive your Jeep, your Lamborghini, or your used Acura MDX in Phoenix.

Put a sun reflector behind your windshield when parked. This will keep your car cool enough to not bake bread and keep your vinyl dashboard from cracking.

Put a towel over the steering wheel and driver’s seat. Otherwise, you will be waiting for some time until they cool down before you can drive. There’s nothing quite like the sensation of sitting on a boiling hot car seat in shorts.

Leave your dog at home. I know. There’s nothing a dog loves more than going somewhere! To do something! With the windows down and the nose out while the ears flap in the breeze! But even parked in the shade, your car can reach much higher temperatures inside than you would think. And when left in the sun, the temperatures can exceed those of a Finnish sauna. In Phoenix, as in many other cities, it’s illegal to leave a pet in a car anyway. You don’t want to have to bury your dead doggie and pay a fine, too.

Don’t leave your children in the car. I just warned you about what can happen to your pet in a sunny place like Phoenix. Thirty children died last year from being left in hot vehicles. It would be hard enough to live with yourself after you killed your dog in this way. Imagine what it’s like to have baked your baby to death.

Invest in a pair of quality sunglasses. The sun is extraordinarily bright in Phoenix and the glare can be unbearable while driving. The worst times are when the sun is low in the sky like late afternoon. You really cannot see oncoming traffic or traffic lights at all at those times. Get some polarized sunglasses made for desert wear.

Before you drive, call 511. The Arizona Department of Transportation offers a great free service for information about the weather, road conditions and public transportation. Sometimes when driving, planning is half the battle.

Beware of flash floods. Because it’s almost always sunny, when it does rain, it can catch you by surprise. The monsoon season in Phoenix runs from mid-June through the end of September. This is when the desert briefly turns into a garden, vibrant with color – green, purple, orange, yellow and red! It’s gorgeous. But while you are distracted by all the beautiful scenery, don’t get caught by surprise by high winds, dust storms and downpours of heavy rain. A perfectly dry road or stream bed can suddenly be covered with rapids worthy of competition kayaking.