AAA Kansas is gearing up for winter emergency calls.

AAA Kansas is gearing up for winter emergency calls. Drivers are more likely to experience dead car batteries or tire pressure issues as the temperature drops. In this Q5, Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman talks about the challenges of winter.

With more snow on the way and below-freezing temperatures how do you prepare for stranded motorists this time of year?
It will be all hands on deck at AAA so that we may respond to stranded motorists as quickly and safely as possible. No one ever plans on getting stranded so AAA encourages anyone with a car battery more than three years old to get it checked as temperatures drop.
Each year, AAA rides to the rescue of approximately 32 million stranded motorists across the country. Making sure your AAA membership is active for roadside assistance is important and as simple as going to AAA.com  or stopping in at one of the AAA Kansas retail stores.

What winter tips do you think are most important for motorists?
Check your batteries. The average car battery lasts 3-5 years. Even at 32 degrees, a battery is 35 percent weaker.
At zero degrees, a car’s battery loses about 60 percent of its strength, yet the engine needs about twice as much power to start. A battery’s life can be drained faster if devices are plugged into cars (cell phone chargers, upgraded audio and GPS devices)
Check your tires. We also recommend checking tire pressure frequently because tires lose air  when air temperatures are cold. Proper cold weather tire pressure can be found in the vehicle manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s door, not on the tire itself.
 
Why is a winter emergency kit important and what should be in it?
Motorists are advised to prepare a winter emergency kit and stow it in the trunk of their vehicle to have immediately available should the need arise. More than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.
Emergency kit items to include – 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).
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) – if you’re stuck on the road for an extended period of time you’ll need to stay warm, especially if your vehicle is not running.
Snacks and beverages for passengers and pets who may be traveling with you.
Motorists should also have a cell phone with car charger, and AAA members should travel with their membership card or have their membership number handy when calling for roadside assistance.

What should people do to stay safe if their car breaks down?
Pull out of the traffic lanes if your car breaks down. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic, if possible. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.
 
What’s the most important thing people can do to stay safe in their vehicle during winter?
The first goal is to try to avoid a breakdown by keeping your vehicle up-to-date on maintenance. The second goal, should you break down, is to stay as safe and warm as possible while waiting for help to arrive.
 For more safety tips if a vehicle breaks down, visit: http://exchange.aaa.com/automotive/roadside-assistance/road-safety-tips.
— Rimsie McConiga