|During this week’s winter storm, many Texas drivers found themselves stranded and in need of emergency roadside service. In Dallas/Fort Worth alone, more than 800 DFW motorists contacted AAA Texas for emergency roadside service on Tuesday. The good news, that number is well below normal daily call volumes, thanks to lower total traffic volume in the region and many people making the smart decision to stay off the icy roadways. The bad news, many of those emergency situations could have been avoided. if drivers had simply practiced safe driving habits like reducing speed in icy conditions and not driving when conditions are dangerous. In addition to tows for drivers who spun out and got stuck on the slick roadways, flat tires and dead batteries caused problems for many drivers as well on Tuesday.
AAA data shows 60% of Americans do not regularly check their tire’s air pressure. When the temperature drops, so does the air pressure in our vehicle’s tires. AAA Texas reminds drivers that well-maintained tires are critical to traction on wet roads.
- As a general rule, a tire loses 1 pound per square inch with every 10-degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature. This is in addition to the 1-2 psi tires typically lose each month.
- Drivers should be checking their car’s tire pressure at least once a month throughout the year. However, during colder months, the frequency should double.
- Tip: To avoid a false air pressure reading, check your tires when they’re cold or after the vehicle has been idle. The air inside tires warms up during use and expands causing the pressure to increase temporarily.
Dead batteries are one of the top service calls AAA Texas is responding to during the winter storm impacting the Lone Star State this week. AAA Texas reminds vehicle owners that a car battery loses a third of its power in freezing weather. As the air outside cools, the oil in your car thickens. Parts move slower and your battery must use more power to turn over and start the engine.
Make sure your battery and charging system are up to par
A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. Have your battery and charging system checked for optimum performance – particularly if your battery is more than three years old. Also, clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections; wipe away dirt and oil deposits on the case and make sure all hardware is secure.
Warning Signs Your Battery is Failing
- Your car doesn’t start immediately or makes a clicking noise when you try to start the ignition.
- Your headlights or interior lights are dim.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Park your car in a garage whenever possible. The less frigid the air is around your car, the better for your battery.
- Turn off your lights, wipers and heater before you turn off your engine at the end of a drive to prevent an unnecessary drain on the battery the next time you start your car.
- Unplug phone chargers and USB cables for devices like iPods as soon as you turn off your engine (for the same reason as #2).
- Avoid using your car’s heater longer than you need to; heaters put extra strain on your battery.
- If you see corrosion on your battery, clean it or have it cleaned by a trained technician.
Keep a heavy blanket and warm clothing in your trunk as well as other supplies to stay warm during winter. If you ever break down and can’t use your heater in freezing weather, you’ll need those supplies to keep warm until help arrives. For AAA’s complete Winter Care Checklist, visit AAA.com.
Move Over or Slow Down Law
An average of 24 emergency responders, including tow operators, are struck and killed by vehicles while working at the roadside each year – meaning someone in this line of work is killed, on average, every other week in America.
In Texas, drivers are required to move over a lane or slow to 20 mph below the speed limit when approaching emergency vehicles, law enforcement, tow trucks, utility service vehicles, TxDOT vehicles or other highway construction or maintenance vehicles using visual signals or flashing lights activated on the roadside.
AAA provides more than 63 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of independently owned motor clubs and nearly 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, AAA has been a leader and advocate for the motorist and safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting www.AAA.com. Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook: www.facebook.com/AAATexas.