TOWSON, MD (Wednesday, February 17, 2021) –– Even as many are still cleaning up from last weekend’s winter storm, it’s time to prepare for the next round of wintry weather while keeping COVID-19 protections in mind. According to the National Weather Service Baltimore-Washington, “Winter Storm Watches have been issued for the entire region for heavy wintry precipitation starting late Wednesday night and continuing through Thursday night.”
“AAA reminds drivers not to get complacent and think just because some roads remained slushy last week that those same roads will not be a sheet of ice this time. Prepare now for the winter weather that is expected tomorrow,” said Ragina C. Ali, Public and Government Affairs Manager at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “So many of us run out for groceries ahead of a storm, but don’t forget to fill your gas tank and prepare your car in case it becomes encased in ice during the storm.”
Tips for Preparing You Vehicle for Freezing Rain and Ice:
- If you don’t have a garage, park your car in a carport. It will give a vehicle some protection from the elements. If you have no choice but to park outside; avoid parking under power lines, trees, and anything that might fall or drop ice and damage the vehicle.
- Park your car facing the east. The morning sun, even if it’s cold outside, might help melt the ice off of your vehicle. Every little bit helps when it comes to melting the ice.
- Consider using de-icing spray on your windshield or covering it with a snow shield so that the snow and ice can’t bond to the window. Never pour hot liquids onto a windshield as the extreme temperature differences could cause it to crack and break.
- Cars only need about 30 seconds to warm up the engine components, but if your vehicle is frozen over, let it run longer to help loosen the ice. Never start or run a vehicle in a garage without proper ventilation. Make sure to clear all of the snow and ice off of a vehicle before setting out.
- Turn off your windshield wipers when you get out of the car. If they become frozen to the vehicle while in the on position, you can cause damage to the wipers when you start the vehicle.
- Consider covering the wipers with plastic bags or propping them away from the window so they don’t freeze to the glass.
- Wipe down doorjamb gaskets with silicon spray before the storm hits. It could keep the ice from bonding to the gasket rubber. Note: Check your vehicle owner’s manual and the product label to make sure it doesn’t pose a risk of causing damage to your vehicle.
- If the door lock is frozen, heating the tip of the key might help melt it enough to get the keep into the slot. Forcing it in can cause damage to the lock. A few squirts of de-icing spray will also melt the ice out of the lock. Make sure to keep your de-icing spray with you or inside your home, not in the car, or you won’t have access to it if the vehicle is frozen solid.
Thanks to the flashlight, food, water, shovel and blankets, the Emergency Roadside Kit you put together for your car, is also a good go-to resource if you’re without power and heat at home.
“No one ever wants to get stranded on the side of the road or at home without power,” said Ali. “Being prepared is essential ahead of a storm.”
Assemble or replenish a COVID-ready emergency roadside kit BEFORE you need it:
Emergency kit items to include – deicer, shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter (for traction) and extra masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes to protect you from COVID-19. Masks, wipes and sanitizing products are necessary to help you stay safe if you do seek help in a public place and come into contact with others.
- Pack a blanket, extra gloves and hat, heavy coat – 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.
- Pack snacks, beverages, etc. – Have them packed by the door to take in the morning (so they don’t freeze in the car overnight).
- Charge your cell phone – Have a backup power source for the car in case you’re stuck for a while.
- Make sure your windshield wipers and lights (headlights, taillights, turn signals) are working properly – Make sure you can see and can be seen.
- Keep a FULL tank of gas.
Safety on the Road
Whether you have a long commute to work or just need to drive a short distance to the store, preparation is key to making the trip safely. For more information on ways to prepare your vehicle for the winter weather visit 5 Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Weather Travels.
Check your wallet to make sure your AAA membership is active and that the coverage level meets your current needs. AAA offers multiple levels of coverage and also special savings on memberships for first responders and teachers. Visit AAA.com to learn more.
AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers in the area offer FREE car battery checks. Drivers can see firsthand whether their car battery is strong enough to withstand the bitter cold. Pandemic shutdowns in 2020 left many cars idle for weeks or months at a time and that may accelerate battery failures when they’re being challenged by cold and wintry weather.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to over 60 million members nationwide and nearly 988,000 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.