Extreme Cold, Extreme Risk
AAA Urges Motorists to Take Extreme Precautions
January 29, 2019 – With another blast of extreme winter weather in the forecast, AAA is urging motorists to take extreme precautions before and during the dramatic drop in temperatures, to minimize the risk of a breakdown in conditions that could be life-threatening for anyone who is not prepared.
“During the first blast of extreme cold last Monday and Tuesday, AAA received more than 5000 calls for Emergency Roadside Assistance, just in the Greater Hartford area alone,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “Many of these calls were from AAA members who were not prepared to be stranded in such extreme conditions, really putting themselves and their passengers at risk”.
About half of the calls AAA received were for dead batteries and about 30 percent of the calls required a tow.
With that in mind, AAA is offering free battery and tire checks at our new Car Care location in Southington (755 Queen Street) and at any AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities.
Even though it is not a snow event, AAA is encouraging anyone who does not have to be on the roads to stay home and stay safe.
“It will be all hands on deck at AAA so that we may respond to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible,” Parmenter said. “AAA encourages anyone with a car battery more than three years old to get it checked BEFORE it becomes an emergency”.
- AAA says the average car battery lasts 3-5 years.
- Even at 32 degrees, a battery is 35 percent weaker.
- At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength, yet the engine needs about twice as much power to start.
- A battery’s life can be drained faster if devices are plugged into cars (cell phone chargers, upgraded audio and GPS devices)
AAA also recommends checking tire pressure frequently because tires lose air when air temperatures are cold. Proper cold weather tire pressure can be found in the vehicle manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s door, not on the tire itself.
Winter Emergency Kit
Motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit to stow in the trunk of their vehicle to have immediately available should the need arise. More than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle, cautions AAA Greater Hartford.
- Emergency kit items to include – de-icer, shovel, ice scraper, warning flare or reflector triangle, flashlight with fresh batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables and sand or kitty litter (for traction).
- Pack a blanket, extra gloves and heavy but light-colored jacket, scarf or hat (so you can be seen if you have to get out of your vehicle) – if you’re stuck on the road for an extended period of time you’ll need to stay warm, especially if your vehicle is not running.
- Snacks and beverages for passengers and pets who may be traveling with you.
Motorists should also have a cell phone with car charger, and AAA members should travel with their membership card or program the AAA help number and their membership number into their phone so they can call for help as soon as possible. Drivers are urged to make sure your AAA membership is active for roadside assistance is important and as simple as going to AAA.com or stopping in at one of the AAA retail locations.
Vehicle Breakdown Tips
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 roadside assistance.
“The first goal is to try to avoid a breakdown by keeping your vehicle up-to-date on maintenance. The second goal, should you break down, is to stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive,” Parmenter said.
For more safety tips if a vehicle breaks down, visit: http://exchange.aaa.com/automotive/roadside-assistance/road-safety-tips
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