Smart Motorists Prepare for Cold and Wintry Driving Conditions

snowy highway

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (January 11, 2016) - With temperatures expected to drop below freezing again this week, AAA reminds motorists to take preventive measures and be ready for the unexpected. “A cold snap, like the one that is currently making us shiver, results in an increase in calls to AAA for emergency roadside assistance as older batteries are unable to withstand the stress of the below freezing temperatures,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. The last time temps dropped below freezing, AAA saw a dramatic increase service calls for battery replacements.

AAA Tidewater Virginia offers the following advice for motorists:

Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary.

Battery Cables and Terminals – Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion, and the connections are tight.

Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage.

Tire Pressure – Check tire inflation pressure more frequently in fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb. Also, check the spare.

Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.

Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers, and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Wiper Blades – The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.

Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.

Brakes – If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.

Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.

Emergency Road Kit – Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. The kit should include: a bag of abrasive material (sand, salt, cat litter) or traction mats, snow shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, window washer solvent, ice scraper with brush, cloth or roll of paper towels, jumper cables, extra warm clothing (gloves, hats, scarves), blankets, warning devices (flares or triangles), drinking water, non-perishable snacks for both human and pet passengers, first-aid kit, basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench), and a mobile phone and car charger pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family and emergency services.

“No one wants to be stranded in the cold by a vehicle breakdown,” said Blumling. “Properly preparing your vehicle for below freezing temperatures is essential for the safety of all passengers and will greatly decrease the chances of your vehicle letting you down.”

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 333,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.  For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or on Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia