Motorists urged to ready their vehicles as temperatures dip below freezing.
TOWSON, MD (November 10, 2017) –– With area daytime temperatures expected to hover in the 30’s and 40’s for the next few days coupled with overnight lows in the in the 20’s, AAA Mid-Atlantic is expecting the first major wave of winter emergency calls beginning tomorrow morning, as drivers across Maryland and the auto club’s Mid-Atlantic region awaken to dead batteries. Many drivers will also be encountering flat tires and face lockout situations this weekend.
“It will be all hands on deck at AAA so that we may respond to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible,” says AAA spokeswoman Christine Delise. “No one ever plans on getting stranded so AAA is encouraging anyone with a battery more than three years old to get it checked today.”
Each year, AAA rides to the rescue of approximately 32 million stranded motorists across the country. Last year AAA Mid-Atlantic responded to over 2.1 million requests for emergency roadside service with nearly 568,000 of those requests in Maryland.
AAA says the average car battery lasts 3-5 years.
At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength, yet the engine needs about twice as much power to start.
Even at 32 degrees, a battery is 35 percent weaker.
Add to the mix extra items we plug into our cars (cell phone chargers, upgraded audio, and GPS devices) and a battery’s life can be drained even faster.
AAA also recommends checking tire pressure since tires need more air when it is cold. Proper cold weather tire pressure can be found in the vehicle manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s door, not on the tire itself.
AAA Car Care Centers will check batteries and tires at no charge for members, as well as non-members.
Winter Emergency Kit
Motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit now and 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 Mid-Atlantic.
Emergency kit items to include – deicer, shovel, ice scraper, warning flare or bright triangle, flashlight with fresh batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables and 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).
Vehicle Breakdown Tips
Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic, if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
“The first goal is to try to avoid a breakdown by keeping your vehicle up-to-date on maintenance. The second goal, should you break down, is to stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive,” Delise says.
For more safety tips if a vehicle breaks down, along with a free downloadable brochure, visit: http://exchange.aaa.com/automotive/roadside-assistance/road-safety-tips.