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AAA: Motorists urged to take extra caution as arctic air sweeps through Central Kentucky through region

With perilously cold temperatures in the forecast, the AAA Roadside Rescue Team is taking extra precautions as it gears up for an increase in stranded motorists over the next several days.

That includes steps not only to keep motorists safe but to ensure the health and safety of fleet drivers who come to their rescue during bitterly cold conditions.

“With dangerously cold weather coming our way, it is more important than ever for motorists to stow away a winter emergency kit in their vehicle before heading out,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, AAA Blue Grass manager of public and government affairs. “Severe temperatures can bring added dangers to roadside emergencies, so AAA will also be taking extra precautions to keep Roadside Rescue Team members safe and protected from the elements as they respond to stranded vehicles.”

Batteries and tire trouble are the most common issues seen over the cold winter months. When temperatures drop to zero degrees, a battery loses about 60 percent of its strength.

Extreme Cold Driving Preparedness

Each year, AAA rides to the rescue of approximately 32 million stranded motorists across the country. AAA offers these important reminders for motorists planning to head out during the unusually cold weather:

• Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage, nor leave a running vehicle unattended.

• Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have adequate tread. Never mix radial tires with other tire types.

• Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face the extreme 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.

• Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.

• To minimize dangers from the cold, both the vehicle and driver should be prepared. Motorists should select clothing that provides warmth, comfort, and freedom of movement. Heavy garments and gloves offer warmth but should be removed once the vehicle heats up. Always stop the vehicle in a safe spot to remove outdoor clothing rather than increasing winter driving risks by struggling out of a heavy coat while behind the wheel.

• Before heading out, motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit and stow in the trunk of their vehicle to have it immediately available. Emergency kit items should include a de-icer, shovel, ice scraper, warning flare or reflector triangle, flashlight with fresh batteries, first aid kit, jumper cables and sand or kitty litter (for traction). Also pack a blanket, extra gloves and heavy but light-colored jacket, scarf or hat (so you can be seen if you have to get out of your vehicle); snacks and beverages for passengers and pets who may be traveling with you; and a cell phone with car charger.

• If your vehicle breaks down, use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. Besides a coat and blanket, this could include floor mats or newspapers. If possible run the engine and heater just long enough to remove the chill and to conserve gasoline.

• AAA members should travel with their membership card or have their membership number handy when calling for roadside assistance. Making sure your AAA membership is active to take advantage of roadside assistance is important and as simple as going to AAA.com or stopping in at one of the AAA Blue Grass retail stores in Lexington.

Weaver Hawkins has one more bit of advice for motorists over the next few days. “If you’re planning to be on the roads, you can prevent a breakdown by ensuring the vehicle you drive is up-to-date on maintenance. Should you break down, stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive.”

From American Automobile Association

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