Weekly Feature

2017-05-18 / Business

AAA: Preparation key to safe summer travel

This summer, AAA expects to rescue seven million American drivers, with the majority facing battery, lock and tire-related issues, according to a recent press release, but the number could soar higher, with a AAA survey revealing that four out of 10 American drivers are unprepared for emergency breakdown situations.

With three-quarters of family travelers planning to travel by car to their favorite vacation spot, AAA is reminding drivers to take the necessary precautions to ensure they are well prepared for a safe road trip.

“Summer heat takes a toll on vehicles, causing overheating engines, tire blowouts and dead batteries,” Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of AAA Automotive, said in the release. “Having a disabled vehicle is a stressful and dangerous situation, which is why AAA urges drivers to stock an emergency kit, have their battery tested and inspect tires to make certain their cars are in road-ready condition.”

Last summer in New York State, AAA answered nearly 300,000 roadside service calls.

Survey data shows that two-thirds of American drivers have never proactively had their car battery tested, one in five do not know how to change a tire and four in 10 do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.

Other findings from AAA’s 2017 roadside assistance data show:

Dead batteries, flat tires and vehicle lockouts are top reasons that members call AAA during the summer.

While more than half of members’ problems are resolved at the roadside by AAA, more than 3 million drivers will experience significant vehicle issues this summer that require a tow to a repair facility.

With low-profile tires and the elimination of spare tires, many newer vehicles are especially susceptible to roadside trouble.

“Roadside breakdowns continue to rise each year and can be a safety hazard for everyone on the road,” continued Ruud. “AAA is ready to help when vehicle troubles leave you stranded, however, travelers can minimize their risk by planning ahead and preparing properly.”

Preparation can head off some common roadside problems, with AAA offering the following tips to drivers:

Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.

Every vehicle should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.

Always take keys when exiting the car, and bring a spare car key on every trip. Avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water, and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.

Comply with the Move Over Law. Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states.

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.

Learn more safety tips at www.AAA.com.

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