Rain gives people and their cars a Break

Even with the recent rains, the dry spell combined with record high temperatures has caused all sorts of problems for motorists and their vehicles. Bill Stamps talked with towing companies who’ve seen their business double lately.


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It’s about 12:30 in the afternoon and Tow Truck operator Cory Cygan is helping a woman stranded on the Southwest Freeway.

It turns out there’s nothing wrong with the woman’s car. She simply ran out of gas. But for thousands of other drivers, the situation has been different. Record high temperatures have meant a record high number of cars overheating and breaking down on the roads.

“May was a surprise to us. We broke a record in the number of tows, since the program began, in May. Then broke another record in June.”

Jeanette Rash owns a Houston tow company. She says the hot weather doesn’t just cause cars to overheat; it’s a major factor in a high number of flat tires as well.

“If the air temperature is at 102, the freeway pavement temperature is about 130.”

Rash says at that temperatures bald tires can cause a flat or blowout.

“Do you see that white car up there before…?”

It’s now about 1 o’clock and Cory Cygan is looking for stranded cars. It starts to rain and the temperature drops. The lower temperatures may mean less cars overheating. At least until the afternoon. That’s when things really get busy. 

“Cause of the traffic being slow and the heat of the day, makes your car overheat. Can’t get air flowing through your radiator, so there’s more traffic and more cares breaking down.”

“If your car is overheating and you’ve got a bad hose, you’re gonna lose all of your radiator fluid. So those things are going to happen whenever the temperature is as high as it is right now.”

As the rain comes down, Cory takes a cigarette break and relaxes in his truck for a while. That’s something Mother Nature hasn’t let him do lately.

Bill Stamps. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.

image of a blue truck being towed

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