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Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253
TOWSON, MD (January 11, 2019) – With the arrival of cold temperatures and wintry precipitation on the way, AAA Mid-Atlantic is gearing up for a busy weekend ahead, and a busy Monday morning as vehicles sat idle during the region’s snow event.
“The dramatic drop in temperatures and accumulating snow in the forecast means it will be all hands on deck as AAA Mid-Atlantic responds to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “However, for their own safety, drivers are advised to avoid non-essential travel until the storm passes and crews can clear roads. Fortunately, the storm is occurring late Saturday into Sunday morning when there is typically a drop off in road travel.”
Last winter, AAA Mid-Atlantic came to the rescue of over 572,000 motorists across the auto club’s territory, including nearly 150,000 drivers in Maryland. Tows, dead batteries, and flat tires were the primary reasons for roadside service.
“The first goal for drivers is to try to avoid a breakdown by keeping their vehicles up-to-date on maintenance. Tires and car batteries are some of the most common vehicle problems seen over the winter months,” said Chris Storms, AAA Mid-Atlantic Car Care District Director. “The second goal, should a driver’s vehicle break down, is to stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive.”
AAA Mid-Atlantic offers the following winter-weather reminders for motorists:
Winter Driving Preparedness
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. Contents should include a fully charged cellphone (and car charger), ice scraper/brush, blanket, warm winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel and cloth/paper towels.
Have the battery checked by a certified auto technician to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather. AAA members, as well as non-members can receive a complimentary battery check at any AAA Mid-Atlantic Car Care Center. To find a nearby location and make an appointment, visit AAA.com/Locations.
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. Contents should include a fully charged cellphone (and car charger), ice scraper/brush, blanket, warm winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel and cloth/paper towels.
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 at one of AAA Mid-Atlantic stores.
Winter Weather Driving Tips
Allow plenty of extra time to get where you need to go.
Slow down: accelerate, turn and brake gradually. 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.
Do not tailgate: normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of eight to ten seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. The extra time will provide additional braking room should a sudden stop become necessary.
Watch the traffic ahead: slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, fishtailing cars, sideways skids or emergency flashers ahead.
Never use cruise control on slippery roads: patches of ice can cause unexpected wheel spin and use of cruise control can slow driver response.
Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes: this increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle control.
Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses: black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
Move Over: move over one lane for law enforcement and emergency roadside personnel assisting motorists. It is the law. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
Carry a winter weather kit in your car: contents should include a fully charged cellphone (and car charger), ice scraper, blanket, warm winter clothing, flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, a bag of kitty litter, reflective triangles/flares, shovel and cloth/paper towels.
Tips for Braking on Ice:
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. Maintaining control of your vehicle is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
Control the skid: in the event of a skid, ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction you want the front of the car to go.
If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS): do not remove your foot from the brake during a skid. When you apply the brakes hard enough to make the wheels lock momentarily, you will typically feel the brake pedal vibrate and pulsate back against your foot. This is normal and the system is working as designed. Do not release pressure on the pedal or attempt to “pump” the brakes.
If your car does not have an anti-lock braking system: keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to modulate the pressure applied to the brake pedal so the brakes are at the “threshold” of lockup but still rotating.
Tips When Icing Conditions Affect Vehicles:
Ice coated windshield/windows: NEVER pour hot water on windshield or windows, this can cause the glass to break. Use vehicle defrosters to melt ice for easier removal. Don’t use windshield wipers to remove ice – this will damage the blades.
Frozen windows: do not continue to push the power window buttons if the window is frozen, it can damage the mechanics inside the door and can also cause the window to break.
Frozen locks: never use water to thaw frozen locks, instead use commercial deicing products or heat the key and lock with a hair dryer. A lighter can also be used to heat the key.
Frozen windshield wipers: If windshield wipers are frozen to the windshield, use the heater and defroster to melt the ice before turning the windshield wipers on. When you arrive at your destination remember to pull the windshield wipers away from the windshield to prevent refreezing.
Drivers can find many of the items need for a winter weather kit – plus pre-assembled multi-item kits including the 73-piece Explorer Road Kit and 66-piece Winter Safety Road Kit – in the online store at AAA.com.
For more tips or to learn about other automotive solutions, visit AAA.com/Automotive.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to over 59 million members nationwide and more than 975,000 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.
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