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AAA Offers driving tips during heat wave

June 12th, 2017 by WCBC Radio

While summer is still nine days away, Marylanders will experience summer-like temperatures today and tomorrow, as they rise to the mid-nineties. With the mini-heat wave upon us, AAA Mid-Atlantic is expecting an increase in emergency roadside service call volume, as older batteries conk out, tires blow out and minor car troubles become major ones due to the heat.

“It may not officially be summer yet, however the heat is definitely on, which means AAA’s Emergency Roadside Service Team is gearing up for a busy two days,” says Christine Sarames Delise, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “AAA is encouraging drivers to prepare for the worst – just in case.”

A recent AAA survey reveals that 4 out of 10 American drivers are unprepared for emergency breakdown situations.

“In the extreme heat, having a disabled vehicle can be more than just an inconvenience, it can be dangerous, especially for children or seniors. It’s critical that drivers take every precaution to protect themselves – and their passengers,” advised Delise.

AAA expects to rescue 7 million drivers this summer and many of those breakdowns will be triggered by the heat. Given the projected high temperatures and the summer travel season, AAA is urging drivers to make sure their car emergency kit is well-stocked, have their battery tested, engine fluids checked, and tires inspected to make certain their cars are road-ready.

AAA Mid-Atlantic’s 6 Steps to Prepare Your Vehicle for the Heat:

1.   Make sure your battery is securely mounted in place

Heat and vibration are a battery’s two worst enemies leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While drivers cannot do much about the heat, they can make sure their battery is securely mounted in place to minimize vibration.

 

2.   Clean corrosive build up on battery terminals

Another potential summer problem is faster evaporation of the battery fluid, leading to corrosion on terminals and connections. Clean any corrosive build up from the battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move.

 

3.   Test your battery and, if necessary, replace it BEFORE it dies

Most batteries last 3-5 years and each day of extreme weather pushes a battery closer to its end. If a car’s battery is more than two years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last. AAA members can request a AAA Roadside Service technician to come to them and test their battery free of charge. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it on location. For more information on the AAA Mobile Battery Service visit AAA.com/Battery.

 

4.   Make Sure Tires Are Properly Inflated

Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – not the number molded into the tire sidewall.

Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb or the inside of the glove compartment door. Some vehicles use different pressures for the front and rear tires. While checking the tire pressures – including the spare – drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.

5.   Check all fluids

When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.

 

6.   Stock a Summer Emergency Car Kit

Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so AAA recommends every driver have a fully charged cellphone so they can call for help when needed and also keep a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle to ensure everyone’s safety while they’re waiting for help to arrive. AAA says the Emergency Kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.

While many of the maintenance tasks to prepare a car for extreme summer heat are relatively simple and can be performed by the average driver, some are best left to a trained automotive technician. Motorists can identify reliable, high-quality repair shops with certified technicians by looking for the AAA Approved Auto Repair sign or by visiting a AAA Car Care Insurance & Travel Center. These facilities must meet and maintain high professional standards for customer service, technician training, tools, equipment, warranties and cleanliness. Nearby shops can be located at AAA.com/repair.

Also, in an effort to remind drivers of the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars, AAA urges drivers to look before you lock. Heatstroke is the number one killer of children, outside of car crashes, according to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“As outside temperatures rise, the risks of children dying from being left alone inside a hot vehicle also rises,” says Delise.  “Drivers are also reminded to never leave pets alone inside a hot vehicle, as our four-legged friends are just a susceptible to heat stroke as humans.”

Children’s body temperatures can rise up to five times faster than that of an adult and heatstroke can occur in temperatures as low as 57 degrees. On an 80-degree day, a car can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.

AAA urges all parents and caregivers to do these three things:

•     Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended

•     Make it a habit to look in the back seat EVERY time you exit the car

•     If you ever see a child left alone in a hot vehicle, call 911 right away    

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