PHOENIX - The heat can cause drivers problems when they least expect it.
Tire blowouts and running out of gas are more common during the dog days of summer, and we're getting a first-hand look during a ride-along with Arizona Department of Public Safety service patrol members.
It's a time when they're extremely busy helping stranded motorists every day, especially on days there are Excessive Heat Warnings.
Imagine you’re driving to work during an extreme heatwave, something happens with your car, and you find yourself stuck on the side of the highway waiting for help.
It’s not just troopers that respond, but so do roadside assistants.
These roadside motorist assistants (RMA) patrol the highways with specialized vehicles. They're equipped to do things like change tires, air up tires, jump batteries, and provide fuel, all for free.
RMA's are civilian DPS employees who work alongside troopers and respond to tens of thousands of calls every year.
It’s dangerous, as we all know, for motorists to get stuck on the side of the highway, especially during blazing temperatures.
During the ride-along, we came across a driver who found themselves stranded after a tire blowout.
"I was on the way back to the hospital. I just had a baby. I had to go get a new onesie for my son, and I was driving, and my tire just gave out on me right now. I was able to pull to the side safely, and these guys came and helped me. I had no idea these guys were behind me," said Isiaiah Diaz, the stranded motorist.
The RMA changed out the flat tire and put air in the other tires in a matter of minutes. Then, he was off on the road again, looking to help the next person.
Dan Heinrich was another stranded motorist who was helped.
"Driving down the road, heard a noise and looked back, and rubber was shooting off my tires," he said.
He's of course thankful for the quick help.
"It's wonderful. I couldn't have asked for better help today. This guy came out and saved me. Now, I can go back to work and make my customers happy," he said.
The next time you find yourself stuck, you can dial 911 and the dispatcher will decide whether to send a trooper if it’s a true emergency, or send a roadside motorist assistant.
"Anyone on the road, we think of them as family, you don't want them there at a dangerous spot," said Leonard Morris, a roadside motorist assistant.