Local News


Record-breaking heat spikes car breakdowns in Las Vegas valley

Posted at 11:21 PM, Jun 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-22 15:46:34-04

He's one the guy you want to see when your car breaks down. Dan Stafford is a free service patrol technician with NDOT. He covers Interstate-15 from Craig down to Blue Diamond. He rides to the rescue when it seems like your day can't get any worse.

Normally, Stafford gets about four or five calls a day. Now that the temperature is skyrocketing the calls are spiking. “It can get real hot, real fast," Stafford said. "We've been very busy. “Yesterday, we saw responses in the teens, 14, 15. We've tripled in our activity."

And drivers are stranded in unforgiving heat. "It's quite brutal. They can't escape it. It's all around them."

Stafford typically sees overheated engines and flat tires. He stopped to help Roberto Rosales, whose tire had blown out. "I was driving a long on the freeway and it just popped out of nowhere," Rosales said. "I almost crashed."

Rosales’s car broke down during the afternoon rush. Stafford and his crew couldn't have come at a better time. "They're real life savers man. If it wasn't for them, I don't know what would've happened," Rosales said.

Then, Stafford sees an overheated pickup truck. He pours water into the radiator and the driver back on the road. Stafford is happy to lend a hand when drivers need it most. "It's like being a boy scout, but getting paid to do it. It may be something as simple as offering them a special tool, offering them water for the radiator, maybe calling a tow truck for them."

To avoid trouble on the road, Stafford says keep your car properly maintained, especially when there are big temperature changes.

If your car does break down, get out of the travel lanes and move to the side of the road. Call Nevada Highway Patrol at *NHP.