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Snow Means Slow
AAA Reminds Motorists to Change Driving Behavior with Change in Weather
With the first winter storm expected to coat roads across the state in coincidence with the evening rush hour, AAA is reminding motorists that the change in the weather means changing your drive behavior as well.
“Here in Connecticut we have seen time and again that even a little snow can cause major headaches on our roadways when motorists don’t adjust their driving behaviors for conditions”, says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “It is critical that not only are vehicles winter ready – but that drivers are ready as well”.
Hazardous storms and inclement weather are a factor in more than half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
AAA is encouraging drivers to be prepared and patient. White knuckle driving on slick roads often intensifies when roadways have increased traffic, especially during rush hour.
AAA safe driving tips for slick or icy roadways:
- Slow down: Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
- Do not tailgate: normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of eight to ten seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.
- Never use cruise control on slippery roads: patches of ice can cause unexpected wheel spin and use of cruise control can slow driver response.
- Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes: this increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle control.
- Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses: black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
- Move Over: move over one lane for law enforcement and emergency roadside personnel assisting motorists. It is the law. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
- Think 'Ahead' - Keep a close eye on traffic ahead and slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, fishtailing cars, sideways skids or emergency flashers ahead.
- Carry your AAA Membership Card - program your phone with the AAA HELP number and your AAA membership number to expedite the rescue process in the event of a breakdown
Get the Car Winter Ready
Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. AAA recommends that motorists check the following vehicle systems:
- Battery: Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. The average battery lasts 3-5 years. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.
- Tires: Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance.
- Fluids: Important system fluids such as engine coolant/anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluid should be checked and changed at recommended intervals.
- Brakes: Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. Correct minor brake problems promptly.
- Wipers: Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. Purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.
- Lights: Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs so you can see and be seen. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
- Carry a winter weather kit in your car: contents should include a fully charged cellphone (and car charger), ice scraper, blanket, warm winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel and cloth/paper towels.
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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.