CINCINNATI, Oh. (February 6, 2020)—AAA is cautioning motorists to build extra time into their morning commute, with snow showers moving into the tri-state area, leaving slippery road conditions.
“The dramatic drop in temperatures we have seen over the past couple of days and potential for accumulating snow in the forecast means motorists can expect hazardous roads for their morning commute. Motorists should plan ahead to lessen the added risks of wintry weather,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “That means leaving plenty of time to reach your destination as well as ensuring your vehicle is prepared for the cold, snow and ice before heading out."
Moore says that while no one ever plans on getting stranded, tires and batteries are some of the most common problems seen over the winter months. She says it will be all hands on deck as AAA responds to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible.
Each year, AAA rides to the rescue of approximately 32 million stranded motorists across the country. The not-for-profit auto club association offers the following winter-weather reminders for motorists:
Winter Driving Preparedness
- Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage, nor leave a running vehicle unattended.
- Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread.
- 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.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
- Before heading out, motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit and stow in the trunk of their vehicle to have it immediately available. Emergency kit items should include a 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). Also 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); snacks and beverages for passengers and pets who may be traveling with you; and a cell phone with car charger.
- AAA members should travel with their membership card or have their membership number handy when calling for roadside assistance. Making sure your AAA membership is active to take advantage of roadside assistance is important and as simple as going to AAA.com or stopping in a local AAA store.
Tips for Driving in the Snow
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids.
- Drive slowly. Every maneuver takes longer on snow-covered roads.
- Increase your following distance by at least 6 seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop. Do not tailgate.
- Avoid braking on icy roads. Try to brake well ahead of stop signs and traffic lights, preferably in areas of clear pavement. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold braking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, without getting close to vehicles ahead of you, do it.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top rather than hard acceleration. Do not stop on your way up the hill. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill as slowly as possible.
- Never use cruise control on slippery roads. Cruise control will cause you to lose the ability to transfer more weight to the front tire by simply lifting off the accelerator. A driver should always be in full control of their vehicle during poor road conditions.
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes. This increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle traction.
- Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can.
“The goal is to try to avoid a breakdown by keeping your vehicle up-to-date on maintenance. Should you break down, stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive,” Moore said.
Many of the winter emergency items listed above – plus pre-assembled multi-item kits including the 64-piece Traveler Road Kit and 66-piece Severe Weather 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. 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 www.AAA.com.