TOLEDO, OH (February 19, 2019) – Old Man Winter returns mid-week with yet another ill-timed blast of snow and freezing rain to dramatically affect Wednesday’s morning commute. The weather system is expected to begin Tuesday night and continue into the morning commute creating hazardous driving conditions. AAA urges motorists to prepare ahead of the storm by filling up the gas tank and packing a vehicle emergency kit. Many of the more than 15,000 stranded motorists rescued in Northwest Ohio so far by AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team this winter can tell you, preparation is key.
“AAA urges motorists to use the calm before the storm today to prepare their vehicles by filling up their gas tanks and packing a vehicle emergency kit,” said Kara Hitchens, AAA spokeswoman. “No one ever plans to get stuck. Preparation can make all the difference, as a typical 15-minute drive could take much longer on Wednesday, especially during morning rush hour traffic.”
Winter Vehicle Emergency Kit
Motorists are advised to pack a winter emergency kit now 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.
- Emergency kit items to include – deicer, shovel, ice scraper, sand or kitty litter (for traction)
- 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 at least a half tank of gas
Winter Weather Driving
Driving in snow always comes with a learning curve. If you have to be out on the roads, remember to drive with caution and give road crews plenty of room to do their job safely.
“AAA urges motorists to use caution if driving in snow and ice,” noted Hitchens. “The key to arriving safely is to clean off your vehicle, slow down and leave plenty of extra room between you and the cars around you.”
AAA advises motorists to be cautious when driving in winter conditions and offers the following safety tips:
- Remove all snow from vehicle, including roof, hood, and trunk. While driving, snow can blow off a car onto the windshield of a nearby vehicle, temporary blinding that driver’s vision.
- Slow down. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. Accelerate, turn and brake gradually.
- Do not tailgate. Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be a minimum of five to six seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.
- Never use cruise control on slippery roads, as you 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.
- Minimize the need to brake on ice. If you’re approaching a stop sign, traffic light or other area where ice often forms, brake early on clear pavement to reduce speed. Vehicle control is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
Making sure your membership is active or joining AAA is important and as simple as going to www.AAA.com.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 59 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.