AAA Wisconsin offers important winter driving reminders

December 27, 2012

Winter Car AccidentsWith the first major winter storm having hit much of the state last week, AAA advises motorists to prepare themselves and their vehicles. Snow, wind and cold weather make driving conditions more difficult, especially during the first big storm of the season as well as for teen drivers. Motorists are advised to allow extra travel time, to monitor weather conditions and to follow advice from authorities.

AAA recommends keeping emergency supplies in your vehicle, including a cell phone, ice scraper/brush, boots, gloves, blanket, flashlight, traction material, shovel, jumper cables, reflective triangle and a first aid kit.

AAA also recommends if motorists become stranded, it is best to stay with the vehicle. If you can start your engine, run it only long enough to keep warm. Make sure the exhaust pipe is snow-free.

Defensive driving

When taking to the road during winter weather, remember to drive with caution and eliminate distractions to help maintain your safety as well as that of others. AAA recommends the following tips for winter driving:

• Before starting out, remove snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors and lights are clean.

• Drive with your lowbeam headlights on.

• Slow down when visibility and road conditions are impaired, and increase the following distance between vehicles.

• Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections.

• Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.

• When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop.

• Don’t use cruise control in precipitation and freezing temperatures.

• Remember that fourwheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won’t help you stop any faster.

• Apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal with anti-lock brakes.

Vehicle preparation

Preparing for frigid weather conditions will help keep your vehicle on the road, advises AAA.

• Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power.

• Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.

• Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up. AAA Wisconsin is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.8 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 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.