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AAA reports that most Motorists are not prepared for Winter Weather


3 out of 5 People Don’t have Winter Driving Kits in their Vehicles

AAATampa, FL – Extremely cold weather is moving across the southeastern United States and AAA warns motorists to be careful and make sure their vehicles are prepared for an emergency.

According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.

Snow and ice on the roads.

Snow and ice on the roads.

“The safest place to be during adverse weather conditions is indoors and that’s not always possible” said Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman. “It is imperative that motorists prepare their vehicles before winter conditions hit.”

Simply following safe driving habits like planning ahead, driving distraction free, and taking time to prepare your vehicle for winter weather driving conditions can help ensure you stay safe in the elements. According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, 47 percent of motorists are concerned with skidding or losing control of their vehicle while driving in winter weather.

AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

  • Emergency road kit – Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. Make sure to include the following items:
    • Charged cellular phone
    • Blankets
    • Food
    • Water
    • Medication
    • Ice scraper
    • Flashlight
    • Hats
    • Gloves
    • Sand or cat litter
  • 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. For electric or hybrid-electric vehicles, several things can be done to minimize the drain on the batteries. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the batteries, make sure your vehicle is plugged in whenever it is not in use. If the vehicle has a pre-heat function to warm the car interior, set it to warm the passenger compartment before you unplug it in the morning.
  • Engine hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or excessively spongy feeling.
  • Tire type and tread – According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, 94 percent of motorists do not change the tires on their vehicle for winter. 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 4/32-inches of tread (distance from a quarter’s edge to the top of Jefferson’s head). 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 jam. Also, check the spare.
  • Air filter – Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if light is blocked, replace it.
  • 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.
  • Washer fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
  • Remember that trucks are heavier than cars – Trucks take longer to safely respond and come to a complete stop, so avoid cutting quickly in front of them.

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in the Southern Region of The Auto Club Group (Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee) from October 20th- November 3rd, 2014. A total of 549 residents who have driven winter weather within the past year completed the survey.

The survey has a maximum margin of error of ± 4.2 percentage points. Overall survey responses are weighted by gender and age within state to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.

ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.




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