May 28, 2019 - - More Americans than ever recorded by AAA*, nearly 49 million, are making plans to honor the red, white and blue with a getaway this week. The vast majority of those – 41.4 million – will hit the road, another record, and 4.3% more than last year.
“The heat is on in Oklahoma, and AAA is alerting motorists heading out to take a ‘see us now’ approach or they’ll likely see us later,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson. “Vehicle inspections before travel are vital to prevent vacation plans detours and calls to AAA for roadside rescues and tows.”
AAA’s recent roadside data analysis indicates that vehicles 10 years and older are twice as likely to break down compared to newer vehicles and four times more likely to have an issue serious enough to require a tow.
Just in time for holiday and other summer travels, AAA’s Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers at
• N.W. 61st and May in OKC, and
• 1701 S. Broadway in Edmond,
are offering free pre-travel inspections. Car battery and tire checks will help drivers avert future complications. Both are open 7:30 to 6, Monday through Friday and 8 to 5 on Saturday.
Heat Impacts Battery and Tire Problems
A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will. Drivers are often more concerned about battery problems in winter, but Oklahoma’s summer heat can be tougher on a car’s battery than the bitter cold. “The typical life of a battery is three years,” said Justin Tolbert, AAA Edmond car care manager, “so if yours is nearing that, don’t wait to get it checked out.”
Checks of tire pressure and tread depth, affected by road surface heat, can greatly improve chances of a carefree road trip. “Tires literally determine how the ‘rubber meets the road’ and, therefore, how much control drivers will - or won’t - especially in heavy congestion, higher speeds or wet conditions,” says Tolbert.
AAA car care technicians will check air pressure to make sure it meets the recommendations for vehicles listed inside driver’s side doors. “They’ll also inspect tread wear to make sure it’s not worn beyond 4/32 of an inch. At that point, tires need to be replaced, because the ability to stop within reasonable distances is already significantly compromised,” Tolbert said.
AAA recommends a simple tire test anyone can do to generally check tread wear. Insert a quarter into the tread, leading with George Washington’s head. At least some of Washington’s head should be hidden in the tread or, AAA says, it is time for new tires. (See photo)
Emergency Response Projections
Last year during the 6-day Independence Day holiday travel period, AAA Oklahoma responded to 3,746 calls from members for emergency rescues.
Gamble says that number could climb with increased road traffic this year. The top 3 reasons for assistance calls were
1) Batteries (607)
2) Tires (548)
3) Lookouts (513)
Some 400,000 Oklahoma drivers rely on AAA for roadside assistance with its popular mobile battery replacement service. Trained technicians meet sidelined drivers and perform tests on the car battery, starting and charging systems. If necessary, a member can get a new AAA battery installed right on the spot to get them on their way and eliminate the need for a tow.
AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Markit, a London-based business information provider. For the purposes of this forecast, the Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as the five-day period from Wednesday, July 3 to Sunday, July 7. In cooperation with AAA, IHS Markit developed a unique methodology to forecast actual domestic travel volumes, using macroeconomic drivers such as employment; output; household net worth; asset prices including stock indices; interest rates; housing market indicators and variables related to travel and tourism, including prices of gasoline, airline travel and hotel stays. The complete AAA/IHS Markit 2019 Independence Day holiday travel forecast is available here.
*AAA began tracking holiday travel in 2000.