HARTFORD, CT (January 26, 2021) – Even though forecasters are not calling for heavy accumulation, the timing of the snowstorm expected to roll into Connecticut this afternoon could prove more dangerous than a more significant snowfall during off-peak hours when there are fewer drivers on the roads.
"It would not be unusual for just a little bit of snow to cause big headaches on area roadways," says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. "With less traffic on our roads because of COVID-19, speeding has been a serious problem over the past year and there have been more fatalities as a result. It is critical that folks slow down and adjust driving behaviors for the conditions, even the SUVs."
According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, winter storms, bad weather and sloppy road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road deaths every winter.
It has already been a busy week for AAA, with colder weather increasing the number of calls from members with dead batteries.
“AAA is reminding drivers that COVID-19 adds a layer of complexity to all interactions, including the interactions necessary when AAA provides emergency roadside service,” Parmenter notes. “At AAA it is always our intention to minimize risk and we are urging drivers to do the same."
Last winter, AAA responded to more than 65,000 calls for Emergency Roadside service, just in the Greater Hartford area alone, and almost half of those calls required a tow. About 25% of the calls to AAA were for dead batteries and this winter that number could be even higher because so many vehicles have been sitting idle because of COVID.
AAA Offers These Winter Weather Driving Tips:
- Slow down – whenever there’s a change in conditions, it’s critical that all drivers adjust their driving behaviors accordingly
- Drive Defensively – increase following distance, which will allow more time to react if you or the driver in front of you loses control
- Limit distractions – always. But in bad weather, drivers should be looking ahead in anticipation of any unexpected changes in road conditions or traffic.
- Never use cruise control – drivers want to maintain full control of vehicle when roads are wet or snow covered
- Turn on headlights – so you can see and be seen
- If you do skid or lose control, always look and steer in the direction you want the vehicle to be headed
AAA Car Care Tips:
Check Battery - Starting an engine in cold temperatures can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions. The average battery lasts 3-5 years in New England
- Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician.
- Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.
- Check tire pressure - colder weather typically requires increasing tire pressure. Make sure pressure levels match those found in either the owner’s manual or on the driver’s door jamb, and note that pressure levels may be different for front and rear tire.
- Check tire tread – test tread depth twith a quarter. If all of Washington’s head can be seen, time for new tires.
- Spare tires – motorists should know whether their vehicle comes with a spare tire (many newer cars do not). This helps AAA know whether to send a light service vehicle (to put on the spare) or a tow truck for a vehicle without a spare.
Check Wiper Blades - The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.
Check Washer Fluid - Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
Prepare Winter Emergency Kit
“Imagine yourself stranded roadside in the dark and the cold. Emergency supplies should include whatever you would need to keep you - and your passengers - safe and warm while waiting for help to arrive”, Parmenter says. “And this year, that emergency kit should include a few extra masks, to ensure everyone can safely interact with anyone who comes to the rescue”.
Recommended Winter Emergency Kit:
- Fully charged cellphone.
- car charger and/or external battery for your phone
- face masks
- bag of sand, cat litter, rock salt or traction mats
- wiper fluid, windshield de-icer
- flashlight with extra batteries
- first-aid kit
- windshield scraper and brush
- emergency flares or reflectors
- battery booster cables
- small shovel
- blankets, extra gloves, hats, scarves and socks
- hand/foot warmers
- drinking water and non-perishable snacks (protein bars, granola bars, pretzels, crackers)
AAA Offers FREE BATTERY and TIRE TESTING
- AAA provides FREE battery and tire testing for members at home or at work.
- AAA offers FREE battery and tire testing for members and non-members alike at any of our AAA Car Care locations (755 Queen St, Southington) or any AAA Approved Auto Repair.