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July 1, 2021 –– As 47.7 million Americans plan to travel for the Independence Day Holiday, the Great American Road trip reigns supreme with 43.6 million Americans driving to their destination. AAA travel projections include nearly 2 million motorists from the Buckeye state.
Over the holiday weekend, AAA expects to rescue more than 4,600 stranded motorists in Ohio and more than 460,000 nationwide. Before hitting the road, AAA reminds motorists to plan their route in advance and ensure their vehicle is ready, to help avoid a breakdown along the way.
“Dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble,” said Chris Overpeck, Manager, AAA Fleet Services. In an effort to ensure cars are road-ready, travelers are advised to have their vehicles inspected by trusted repair shops, including AAA Car Care Centers.
Fortunately, most roadside trouble is avoidable. For vehicles of any age, old and new, AAA advises drivers make a good B-E-T to stay on the road by having a vehicle’s Battery, Engine and Tires checked before embarking on a summer excursion. Long trips coupled with hot weather places additional strain on vehicles and in some cases may accelerate a dormant issue. When these key systems are in good working order, AAA data shows the odds of encountering a serious breakdown are greatly reduced. The top three types of vehicle issues that could derail a road trip are:
- 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 its 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.
Breakdowns can put drivers and their passengers at risk, especially on busy interstate highways. At the first indication of a mechanical problem, drivers need to try to safely move their vehicle as far to the right, away from the lanes of travel, as possible. Then STAY in your vehicle and call for help immediately. When help arrives, remain in your vehicle until police or AAA’s Roadside Rescue approaches your vehicle with further instructions.
Free “Great American Road Trip Vehicle Health Inspection”
In an effort to ensure cars are road-ready, AAA is offering a free “Great American Road Trip Vehicle Health Inspection” to both members and non-members at any AAA Car Care Center through the end of July. This free inspection includes tire, brake, battery, exterior lights and fluid level safety checks. Appointments can be scheduled at AAA.com/CarCare. In addition, AAA is offering free flat tire repair to members (just $9.99 for non-members) and $50 off any repair/service of $150 or more ($35 off any repair /service of $150 or more for non-members).
As Ohioans begin their ‘Great American Road Trip’ this summer, AAA is here and ready to help plan the perfect route with E-ZPass, a convenient program that offers savings, convenience and safety benefits. The use of an E-ZPass allows travelers to electronically record fares when entering and exiting the Turnpike, which eliminates the need for person-to-person contact. AAA locations throughout Southwest Ohio have E-ZPass transponders available for purchase.
AAA has also compiled favorite trip-planning resources, backed by more than 100 years of road-tested experience and expertise. AAA.com/RoadTrip is a free resource to help travelers find inspiration, explore destinations, plan the perfect route and get their vehicle road trip ready.
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 emergency kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 62 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, access a COVID travel restriction map, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.