TULSA, Okla. — AAA Oklahoma urges drivers to avoid travel as 150 technicians across the state are encountering an increase in requests for roadside assistance caused by the winter weather.
According to company officials, AAA Oklahoma has averaged 970 calls from members each day since last Monday’s initial ice storm.
“It’s all hands on deck,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA spokesperson. “We’re here and equipped to provide peace of mind even in such extreme conditions.”
AAA Oklahoma outline 10 things to consider before driving on the roads:
1. Always drive prepared: Take your AAA membership card with you anytime you travel – just in case. Should a breakdown occur, you will need a charged-up cell phone, and your winter emergency kit with an ice-scraper, shovel, blankets, flash light, kitty litter for traction, and your mask, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. This week’s multi-driver crashes on icy roads snarled traffic for miles. It proves how important it is for drivers to have a winter emergency kit in their vehicles in case they are stuck on the highway for an extended period of time because of a road closure and backups.
2. Positive your vehicle battery is ready? Vehicle batteries weaken when vehicles sit idle for a period of time (like during COVID) and during sustained cold temperatures. The combination of the two, can result in a very weak battery at a time when the highest battery power is needed to get a car started. At 32 degrees, a battery is 35% weaker. At zero degrees, a cars battery loses 60 percent of its strength, yet engines need about twice the power to start.
3. No Warming Trend: If your car is a 2007 or newer model, you DO NOT need to warm it up before driving. It takes only about 30 seconds for the engine to be lubricated properly. In fact, actually driving your car is the best thing to do. Take enough time to be sure your vehicle is clear of snow and ice and that you can see out of all of the windows. Cars warm up faster on the road than when they are stopped. Leaving your vehicle running in the driveway for an extended period of time wastes gas.
4. Don’t be a Victim: Never leave a car running with the key or key fob inside of it. Thieves can make off with a running vehicle in an instant. Never start a car and leave it running in a garage without adequate ventilation. When it’s time to remove heavy snow from your car, don’t start your car until you’ve first cleared out the tail pipe. Death from poison monoxide entering vehicle can occur quickly if you don’t.
5. De-ice is Nice: With freezing rain in the forecast, ice is a real threat to vehicles sitting out in the elements. Frozen door locks can be overcome by carefully heating the end of a key with a match or lighter. A squirt of de-icer spray is another quick method. Remember not to leave the de-icer in your car as you won’t have access to it if your locks freeze; keep it in your home, office, purse or briefcase. Do not pour hot water over a frozen lock or ice-covered vehicle, as it could damage your car.
6. Cool! Cool! Cool! Engine coolant performs a vital job when the temperature drops. It lowers the freezing point of the cooling system in winter. Failing to ensure coolant levels can handle the extremely cold temperatures could result in serious and expensive damage to the vehicle’s engine. AAA automotive experts recommend that coolant protection be at 30 below zero.
7. Under Pressure: AAA also recommends checking tire pressure since tires need more air when it is 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.
8. Get Tanked Up: Keep a vehicle filled with at least a half of a tank of gas. A half to full tank gives a driver the ability to keep a car running for warmth if they are stranded somewhere. Gas also gives a vehicle extra weight which can help with traction in snow. It can also help avoid gas line freeze up.
9. Bigger isn’t Always Better, Guard against pick-up and SUV overconfidence: Four-wheel-drive vehicles are great for initial traction and avoiding getting stuck, but once they are moving, they have the same difficulty keeping control and stopping as other vehicles. On ice, they are at just as much at risk of slipping and sliding as smaller non-4WD vehicles.
10. Travel gently: Drive, turn, and brake slowly. Adjust your speed to the road conditions and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
For more information about AAA, click here.
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