TOLEDO, OH (Jan. 17, 2019) When winter finally decided to show up, it did so in a big way. Since the cold snap began on January 8, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team came to the aid of more than 1,750 stranded motorists in the Northwest Ohio area – about a quarter of those calls occurred over a two-day period last weekend. “The first winter storm often proves to be a challenge for motorists as they tend to forget what it is like to drive on slippery roads,” said Kara Hitchens, AAA spokesperson. “But despite the high volume of calls, the Roadside Rescue Team was prepped and ready to respond to calls for help.
Area meteorologists are forecasting another weekend event and are predicting it will be an even bigger storm. As the storm moves closer AAA Fleet is expected to activate the Severe Weather Action Plan which creates an “all-hands-on-deck” scenario for the Roadside Rescue Team.
Locally another round of winter weather is forecasted for today. Although today’s event is not calling for substantial accumulations of snow, no matter the size of the storm, AAA recommends doing what you can to prepare. AAA offers free vehicle maintenance inspections at all AAA Car Centers and membership is not required.
AAA recommends that motorists check the following vehicle systems:
- Battery: Clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.
- Tires: Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance. Drivers can check the air pressure in their tires and add air for free at Miami Valley area AAA Car Care Centers.
- Engine: Symptoms like hard starts, rough idling, stalling or diminished power could signal a problem that would be exacerbated by cold weather. Engine hoses and belts should be inspected for wear or cracking.
- Fluids: Important system fluids such as engine coolant/anti-freeze, transmission and brake fluid should be checked and changed at recommended intervals.
- Exhaust: Have a qualified automotive technician check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
- Brakes: Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. Correct minor brake problems promptly.
- Wipers: Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. Purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.
- Lights: Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
- Keep gas tank at least half full: If you find yourself stranded and have to wait for a rescue, you can periodically run the engine to keep warm and to charge a cell phone.
- Dress for the weather: Don’t dress for the quick trip only to find yourself stranded with an inoperable vehicle and not properly dressed.
- Check your membership: Make sure AAA memberships are current. AAA offers several different types of memberships that provide protection for a variety of lifestyles. Contact any AAA store or visit aaa.com and use the SAFETY code to sign up for membership and receive a discount.
Now is also a great time to begin assembling an emergency kit equipped for winter weather to carry in your vehicle. This kit is especially important if you’ll be driving any distance and winter weather is forecasted. The kit should include:
- Fully charged Mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger
- Drinking water
- First-aid kit
- Non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers
- Bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats
- Snow shovel
- Extra warm clothing (coat, gloves, hats, scarves)
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Window washer solvent
- Ice scraper with brush
- Cloth or roll of paper towels
- Jumper cables
- Warning devices (flares or triangles)
- Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
Many of the winter emergency items listed above – plus pre-assembled multi-item kits including the 73-piece Explorer Road Kit and 66-piece Winter Safety Road Kit – are available, at a discount to AAA members, in the online store at AAA.com.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than three 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, non-profit corporation working 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 (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.