WEST HARTFORD - With cold weather sweeping across much of the state, AAA is encouraging drivers to prepare their vehicles for frigid temperatures.
“Being stuck along the side of the road is inconvenient at any time of year but at this time of year, in the extreme cold, it is potentially unsafe for drivers and passengers alike,” said Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “No one should be leaving their homes, or the homes they are visiting over the holiday, in a vehicle that is not winter ready”.
The following are important preparations AAA suggests before travelling in extreme cold weather conditions:
Make sure the vehicle’s tires are inflated for cold weather. A ‘cold weather pressure’ is typically posted on a sticker inside the driver’s door. Tires need more pressure when it is cold and under inflated tires are more likely to sustain a blow out or flat.
Make sure the vehicle’s battery is strong. It takes a battery twice as much power to start a vehicle when temperatures drop below freezing. Most batteries last 3 to 5 years, so any battery more than 3 years old is potentially at risk.
Stock a Cold Weather emergency kit in the vehicle. Some important items for the kit are a fully charged cell phone, an extra charger, a coat, gloves, hats, a blanket, a flare or flashlight, a shovel, an ice scraper and some sort of abrasive material.
“AAA cannot overstate the seriousness of the situation and the risk people who are not prepared could face,” Parmenter said in a release Thursday. “It’s one thing if your car doesn’t start in your driveway, it’s an entirely different scenario when you stuck along the side of the road in these conditions, especially with children or seniors.”
AAA said it is expecting potentially record-breaking call volume over this 10-day stretch because of the weather, the record-breaking number of travelers heading home after the holiday and New Year’s Eve weekend. In expectation of high call volume, AAA doubled its typical battery order to meet potential demand.
“Just in Greater Hartford alone we had more than 1250 calls Tuesday, even more than that (Wednesday) and our 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. hour this morning was the highest it has been since last February,” Parmenter said.