TOWSON, MD (November 20, 2018) –– Drivers across Maryland have already seen how a ‘perfect storm’ of conditions can dramatically disrupt traffic and travel plans with last week’s first winter weather event. Now, there is another ‘perfect storm’ in the making in advance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
With forecasters calling for an extremely cold Thanksgiving, possibly the coldest since 1930, AAA Mid-Atlantic is warning motorists that the extreme cold coming in, the record number of drivers on the road, and the number of vehicles that will be sitting idle for days, will result in thousands of drivers – and their passengers – being stranded in extremely dangerous conditions.
“Breaking down in the extreme cold is not just an inconvenience, it’s an emergency”, says Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It is critical that all drivers plan accordingly to protect themselves and their passengers”.
AAA Mid-Atlantic is expecting thousands of dead battery calls, not just on Thanksgiving, but also in the days that follow as people try to start vehicles that have been sitting idle in the cold. This includes not just those driving to their holiday destinations, but also flyers who will be returning to airport parking lots where their vehicles have been sitting in the cold for days.
“Last year over the Thanksgiving holiday, AAA Mid-Atlantic responded to over 1,800 calls from stranded motorists with dead batteries – just in Maryland alone, and chances are none of these drivers actually expected to break down. There’s no doubt, given the weather, we will be even busier than that this year,” said Averella.
With that in mind, AAA Mid-Atlantic will be increasing the number of battery trucks on the road, ready to respond to members as quickly and safely as possible.
WHO ARE YOU GOING TO CALL?
Friends and family members who might typically be available to help in the event of a breakdown may be away or otherwise obligated over the holiday.
AAA is encouraging everyone to make sure their AAA memberships are up to date and to have their AAA cards with them or the AAA help number (800-AAA-HELP) and their AAA membership number programmed into their phones. Download the AAA mobile app as well, as another option for emergency roadside service at AAA.com/Mobile. In extreme conditions, every minute counts.
IT’S NOT JUST ‘TRAVELERS’ AT RISK
Even those who are not traveling for the holiday, those who are just driving across town, driving to the mall for Black Friday or driving to the gym -- ALL motorists are at risk of a breakdown and AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging that they dress and plan accordingly.
PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE
- Check your battery TODAY: The average car battery lasts 3-5 years. Have a trusted mechanic check your battery before hitting the road. As a free service to drivers, AAA Mid-Atlantic Car Care Centers will check the strength of a vehicle’s battery. To find a AAA Car Care Center visit AAA.com/Locations.
- Dress appropriately – A breakdown can occur whether you’re going one mile or 100 miles. Dress as though you will be out in the cold for an extended period of time.
- Slow Down – Don’t Rush – Last year, over the Thanksgiving holiday, AAA Mid-Atlantic responded to more than 600 Marylanders who had locked themselves out of their vehicles. Slowing down can actually save you time!
- Gas Up – AAA is regularly called upon by members who have run out of gas. Especially with the risk of lengthy traffic delays over a holiday weekend, make sure you hit the road with a full tank.
- Pack a Winter Emergency Kit – AAA recommends cellphone charger, snowbrush/scraper, de-icer, kitty litter, flashlight with fresh batteries, flares or reflective triangles, jumper cables, blankets, extra coats and gloves, water, snacks and extra medications.
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8600 LaSalle Road, Ste 639
Towson, MD 21286
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 975,000 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.