CINCINNATI, OH (November 29, 2020)—Winter makes a return to the tri-state area this week with freezing temperatures and a messy mix of precipitation just in time for the start of the new week. Though not a major storm, this wintry weather event should serve as a warning for motorists to brush up on their winter driving skills, get their cars ready for winter driving, and pack a vehicle emergency kit.
“AAA recommends motorists have their cars checked out for winter driving, as preventative maintenance can help avoid more costly and inconvenient repairs later in the season,” says Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “A road ready car for winter also includes a vehicle emergency kit, packed now and readily available when you need it all winter long.”
To help drivers prepare for winter, AAA | Bob Sumerel Tire & Service Centers are offering FREE battery, tire and preventative maintenance checks. AAA membership is not required.
AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team is also gearing up for cold-weather emergency calls, as motorists are more likely to experience dead car batteries or tire issues when the temperature drops. “It will be all hands on deck at AAA so that we may respond to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible,” notes Moore. “No one ever plans on getting stranded, so AAA encourages anyone with a car battery more than three years old to get it checked as temperatures drop.”
Drivers are encouraged to make sure AAA memberships are up-to-date to take advantage of roadside assistance. It is important and as simple as going to www.AAA.com or stopping in at one of the AAA retail stores.
AAA offers the following driving tips:
- Turn off cruise control: Avoid using cruise control when driving in wet or icy conditions.
- Buckle up: Each and every passenger (including pets) should be properly restrained.
- Put down the phone: Eliminate all distractions while driving including phones and other electronic devices.
- Move Over: Remember the “Move Over” law when first responders, waste collection workers and emergency roadside assistance workers are assisting motorists along multi-lane roadways.
- See and be seen: Remove snow/ice from the hood, roof, truck, lights, windows and mirrors.
- Slow down and give yourself more room: Increase following distance to at least 10 seconds.
- Stay in your lane: Avoid changing lanes, especially if snow and ice are built up between lanes
- Accelerate gently: If tires lose grip and start to spin, let off on the accelerator.
- Pay close attention on hills: When approaching a hill observe how other drivers are responding and keep far enough behind the vehicle ahead of you so that you will not have to slow down or stop. Once you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed as slowly as possible.
- Avoid slamming on the brakes: A skid can occur when you apply the brakes so hard that one or more wheels lock. Should a skid occur try to remain calm and steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.
Get the Car Winter Ready
Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. 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.
- Engine: Have any engine drivability problems corrected at a good repair shop. 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 your mechanic 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.
Pack a Vehicle Emergency Kit
Motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit now and stow in the trunk of their vehicle to have it immediately available should the need arise. AAA warns, more than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.
The emergency kit should include:
- Fully charged mobile phone pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services, and car charger
- Bottled 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 60 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half 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.