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AAA: As temperatures rise, motorists urged to maintain vehicles, avoid breakdowns in summer heat

As temperatures continue to push 90 degrees in Kentucky, commuters and travelers alike need to be aware of the added stress high temperatures place on vehicles.

With the heatwave expected to continue through the Independence Day travel period, motorists are reminded to take a few precautions before hitting the road and be mindful of summer driving conditions on the way to their destinations.

Whether heading across the country or across town, AAA advises motorists to make sure vehicles are road-ready and up-to-date on maintenance, particularly important as temperatures soar. Staying on top of routine vehicle maintenance is the best way to prevent roadside breakdowns. Last summer, AAA Blue Grass responded to nearly 17,000 Kentuckians needing a tow because of a roadside breakdown.

Breakdowns can put drivers and their passengers at risk, especially on busy Interstate highways. At the first sign of a mechanical problem, motorists should try to safely move their vehicle as far to the right as possible, away from the lanes of traffic. Then stay in the vehicle and call for help immediately. When help arrives, remain in your vehicle until police or AAA’s Roadside Rescue approaches with further instructions.

“Just as motorists prepare an emergency kit for their cars during winter driving conditions, they should also make preparations for summer driving conditions,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, the manager of public and government affairs for AAA Blue Grass. “Back-ups and delays caused by things like vehicle crashes can result in drivers being stranded along highways for extended periods of time. Summer’s heat can cause dangerous conditions for those stranded without shade.”

AAA offers these tips to keep drivers safe and vehicles operating in the warm weeks ahead:

•Prepare before hitting the road. During the summer months, drivers should carry a minimum of five bottles of water for each person in the vehicle. Also, it’s important to have a fully charged cell phone and car charger. Drivers should also have coolant with them.

•Spare your battery. If traffic is not moving, do not use the accessory setting, listen to the radio or use any other devices that could drain the car battery.

•Avoid overheating. While running the air conditioner, drivers should keep an eye on the control panel. If the vehicle starts to overheat, shut it off immediately and open the hood to allow the engine to cool off. The vehicle may need to be off for a minimum of 45 minutes. When restarting the vehicle, leave the hood open.

•Keep air flowing. If you cannot operate the vehicle’s air conditioning, open windows on both sides of the car to cross ventilate.

•Seek shade when parked. Carry a windshield sun shade in your vehicle to provide some protection from the sun when your vehicle is parked.

•Stay safe during standstill traffic. Staying in your vehicle is usually the safest option. If, however, the heat becomes too oppressive and traffic shows no signs of moving, consider seeking shelter in the shade. If there are trees or an overpass nearby that would provide shade, take a break and give your body time to cool off, but stay safely away from traffic.

From AAA Blue Grass

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