Cold Weather Car Troubles Continue, Snow Expected to Make Matters Worse
AAA urging motorists to plan tonight and use caution tomorrow
The extreme cold has taken its toll on motor vehicles across Connecticut, as evidenced by record call volume for AAA, and now… snow in the forecast is piling on.
AAA is urging motorists to plan tonight and use caution tomorrow, making every effort to avoid driving when conditions are extreme or visibility is limited.
“AAA has fielded a record number of calls from members over this prolonged stretch of cold weather, many of them stranded roadside in extreme conditions. Adding snow to the mix further increases the risk for drivers - and their passengers - and increases AAA’s concern for everyone’s safety,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford.
AAA is reminding anyone who must drive on wet or snow covered roads to adjust their driving behaviors for the conditions and to go nowhere – not even a short distance - without a full tank of gas, a fully charged cellphone and a fully stocked emergency kit.
“This is not the time of year to jump in the car in a tee shirt and shorts because you’re ‘just going to the gym’,” Parmenter says.
More than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle, cautions AAA.
Winter Weather Driving
The forecast for early Thursday morning suggests that most of Connecticut will be blanketed under the first significant snowfall of the season, just in time for the morning commute.
AAA offers the following safe driving tips:
- Remove all snow from vehicle, including roof, hood, and trunk. (CT law requires motorists to clean their cars off completely so snow and ice do not dislodge while driving).
- Slow down. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself ample room to stop. Allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you. Accelerate, turn and brake gradually.
- Do not tailgate. Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be a minimum of five to six seconds when driving on slippery surfaces.
- Never use cruise control on potentially slippery roads – maintain control of your vehicle as much as possible
- Avoid unnecessary lane changes. This increases the chances of hitting a patch of ice between lanes that could cause loss of vehicle traction.
- Minimize the need to brake on ice. If you’re approaching a stop sign, traffic light or other area where ice often forms, brake early on clear pavement to reduce speed. Vehicle control is much more difficult when braking on ice-covered roadways.
- Give road crews plenty of room to do their job safely.
- Slow down and move over when you see police, EMS and roadside assistance teams helping motorists on the side of the road. It’s the law.
Winter Weather Emergency Kit
- Shovel, Ice scraper, de-icer
- Kitty litter or abrasive materials
- Most important is fully charged cellphone so you can call for help
- Extra charger
- Extra coat, gloves, hats, blanket so everyone can stay as warm and safe as possible while waiting for help to arrive – especially if the car is not running
- Flare or flashlight with additional batteries so you can see and be seen – especially at night
- Snacks or medicine for anyone who might need them waiting for an extended period.
AAA Record Emergency Call Volume
AAA in Greater Hartford received more than 12,000 calls for emergency roadside assistance during the year-end holiday period, a 60% increase over last year during that same timeframe. (Dec 23-Jan 1).
Why is cold weather so hard on car batteries and tires?
- When temperatures dip, AAA always sees a spike in roadside assistance calls for car batteries.
- At 32°F, a car’s battery loses about 35 percent of its strength.
- At 0°F, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength.
- Starting an engine in cold temperatures can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions.
- The cold has a cumulative effect so every day of the extreme cold is more stressful on the battery than the day before.
- Warning signs that you are at risk for a battery related breakdown include the following:
- You hear a grinding or clicking sound when you turn on the ignition
- Your vehicle cranks slowly when attempting to start
- Your headlights dim when idling but brighten when the engine is revved
- Your battery is more than three (3) years old
- Tires need more air pressure when it’s cold.
- Tires that are not properly inflated are more likely to sustain a flat or blowout.
AAA will continue using all resources to respond to those in need of help as quickly and safely as possible.
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CT Mailing Address:
815 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06119
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than one million members in Connecticut. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.