How Drivers Can Stay Safe in Cold Weather

Since 12:01 a.m. on Monday, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team has responded to 1,212 calls for emergency road service in Greater Hartford and eastern Connecticut. Common calls today include dead batteries, flat tires and motorists locked out of their vehicles.

AAA offers the following cold-weather driving tips:

Check for Battery Warning Signs

The average life of a battery is 3-5 years, but driving conditions, climate and lack of care and maintenance can shorten a battery’s lifespan. Here are some warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown:

• Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start
• You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on
• Your vehicle has stalled
• Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine
• Your battery is more than three years old

Keep an Eye on Your Tires

Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so check tires frequently and maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on the driver’s door jamb—not the pressure stamped on the tire sidewall. Motorists should never reduce tire pressure in an attempt to increase traction on snow and ice. This does not work, and when the roads dry out it can cause excessive tire wear and vehicle handling problems.

Frozen Locks

To help prevent icing, use silicone or graphite spray, sprayed into the lock. If your lock is already frozen, carefully warm up the key. Commercial deicers are also available at hardware and automotive stores. AAA does not recommend pouring hot water into or around your door lock because the water can freeze.

EV Cold-Weather Range Anxiety

AAA reminds electric vehicle owners that their range may be reduced in cold conditions. The cold limits battery performance and running the heater drains the battery. Newer electric vehicles can travel more than 100 miles with a full charge, but AAA tests found that EV range can be reduced by an average of 57 percent when temperatures drop to 20 degrees.

Carry an Emergency Roadside Kit

AAA encourages motorists to carry an emergency roadside kit for winter that includes the following items:

  •          fully-charged mobile phone and car charger
  •          blankets
  •          flashlight with extra batteries
  •          first-aid kit
  •          drinking water and snacks
  •          small shovel and sack of sand, cat litter or traction mats
  •          windshield scraper and brush
  •          battery booster cables
  •          emergency flares or reflectors

Fast Ways to Request Roadside Assistance

If you are stranded, you can request roadside assistance via our website, AAA.com/ERS.  Android and iPhone users can download AAA Mobile, a smartphone app that lets you request help without making a phone call. The AAA Mobile App transmits your information and GPS location directly to AAA Roadside Assistance. Visit AAA.com/Mobile.

Image Source: Auto Service and Body of Santa Clara


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