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Motorists urged to ready their vehicles as temperatures dip below freezing

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 is expecting the first major wave of winter emergency calls beginning tomorrow morning, as drivers across the tri-state area awaken to dead batteries.

“It will be all hands on deck at AAA so that we may respond to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible,” says Tracy Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “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.”

Batteries

  • 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.

Tires

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, Insurance and Travel Centers will check batteries and tires for free, whether you’re a AAA member or not.

Emergency Kit

Prepare a winter emergency kit now so that you have peace of mind all winter long.

  • 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).

“The first goal is to avoid a breakdown. The second goal, should you break down, is to stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive,” Noble says. 

 

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