Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
TOWSON, MD (May 23, 2018) – The summer travel season kicks off this Memorial Day holiday weekend with 36.6 million Americans, including 793,000 Marylanders, setting off on a road trip.
Before heading out, drivers should make sure their vehicles are ready for the holiday weekend and the summer roads ahead. AAA Mid-Atlantic expects to respond to rescue calls from over 8,500 motorists in Maryland during the holiday travel period, including the day after Memorial Day. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. Nationwide, AAA Emergency Roadside crews will rescue more than 340,000 motorists during the holiday.
During the Memorial Day travel period in 2017, including the day after Memorial Day, AAA rescued over 8,500 motorists in Maryland with the day after Memorial Day seeing the highest call volume.
“Roadside breakdowns can be a stressful and dangerous situation not only for the driver and passengers, but for everyone on the road,” said Chris Storms, AAA Car Care Center Regional Director. “AAA is ready to help when vehicle breakdowns leave motorists stranded; however, the auto club urges drivers to minimize the risk of a breakdown by planning ahead and preparing properly. This includes having the car battery tested and tires inspected to ensure the vehicle is in road-ready condition.”
Make a good B-E-T to stay on the road this summer by having your Battery tested, looking for Engine coolant leaks and checking Tire condition.
- Battery-related issues, including faulty starters or alternators. A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will. Through the mobile battery program, AAA offers its members free testing of a vehicle’s battery and electrical system.
- Engine cooling system failures, such as the radiator, thermostat or water pump or engine parts such as the timing belt, most prominently in vehicles age 10 years and older. Much like a battery, the components of the engine cooling system may fail without warning. Drivers should look for fluids such as coolant pooling underneath the vehicle when it is parked as an indication of an impending problem.
- Tire damage severe enough to require repair or replacement. Drivers can minimize this risk by checking tread depth, tire pressure and whether their vehicle is equipped with a spare tire.
AAA offers the following tips to help avoid common roadside problems:
- Schedule a checkup. Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility, such as a AAA Car Care Center in the Mid-Atlantic region or one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America, to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown. AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
- Pack an emergency kit. Every vehicle should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables and emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.
- Prevent lockouts. Always take keys when exiting the car and bring a spare car key on every trip. Avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Additionally, AAA reminds drivers to take the following safety precautions on the road:
- Drive distraction-free. Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.
- Comply with Move Over Laws. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.
- Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. 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 AAA.com.