AAA Highlights Safety Concerns as Heat Coincides with Holiday
Thousands of Emergency Calls Expected
With the forecast of an extended heat wave coinciding with record-breaking July 4th travel, AAA is reminding motorists that a breakdown in extreme conditions is not just an inconvenience, it’s a safety concern.
“AAA typically sees call volume skyrocket during a heat wave and, of course, over a high-traffic holiday as well so it is critical that motorists do everything they can to make sure their vehicles are road-ready - before setting out - and to also be fully prepared in the event of a breakdown,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “This is not just a message for those traveling a distance. This message is for everyone.”
The effect of heat on your car battery is cumulative so every day of extreme temperatures increases the chances that older batteries will fail. Most batteries last 3-5 years.
The extreme heat also increases chances that tires not properly inflated will experience a blow out and that cars will overheat.
In an effort to ensure everyone’s SAFETY, AAA is discounting memberships through the heat wave. New members or renewing members can use the promo code ‘SAFETY’ for the immediate benefit. And, for the many New Englanders flying to their destinations, important to note that AAA membership goes with the driver, not the car, so this benefit would apply even if you are renting a vehicle or driving a vehicle other than your own.
The discount is available to anyone in Hartford, Middlesex, New London, Windham and Tolland Counties.
“Last year, over the July 4th holiday, AAA responded to almost 4000 calls for emergency assistance – just in Greater Hartford alone. No doubt we will top that by quite a bit,” Parmenter says. "It is critical that drivers and their passengers have everything they need to remain safe while waiting for help to arrive".
AAA Tips for Preparing your Vehicle for the Heat
1. Battery Check – have a trusted mechanic check your battery. Or, AAA members can request a AAA Roadside Service technician to come to them and test their battery free of charge at any time. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it on location.
Most batteries last 3-5 years and each day of extreme weather pushes a battery closer to its end.
2. Tire Check - Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.
Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – not the number molded into the tire sidewall.
Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb or the inside of the glove compartment door. Some vehicles use different pressures for the front and rear tires.
While checking the tire pressures - including the spare - drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.
3. Check all fluids - When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.
4. Stock a Summer Emergency Kit
Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so AAA recommends every driver have a fully charged cellphone on hand so they can call for help when needed and also keep a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle to ensure everyone’s safety while they’re waiting for help to arrive.
AAA says the Summer Emergency Kit should include:
Fully charged cellphone
Road flares, bright triangle or emergency beacon – critical to be seen at night
Flashlight with extra batteries
First aid kit
Extra water and non-perishable food/snacks
Find a trusted mechanic
While many of the maintenance tasks to prepare a car for extreme summer heat are relatively simple and can be performed by the average driver, some are best left to a trained automotive technician.
AAA offers a free public service to assist motorists seeking a qualified auto repair facility that they can trust to work on their vehicle. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities must meet stringent professional standards and maintain an ongoing customer satisfaction rating of 90 percent or better. To locate a nearby AAA approved repair shop visit AAA.com/Repair.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.