Motorists Who Prepare During AAA Car Care Month Will Be Safer This Winter

Orlando, Fla. – 10/1/2003

Motorists who prepare now for the onset of colder weather will increase their safety during the winter-driving season, the nation’s largest organization for motorists said today.

Using the start of AAA Car Care Month on Oct. 1 to issue its annual advisory to motorists, AAA said taking care of preventive vehicle maintenance and adjusting driving habits to changing conditions in the driving environment are the two most important steps motorist can take at this time of year.

“AAA wants all motorists to have their vehicles inspected annually by a qualified technician and serviced if necessary. We recommend the use of a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility to make sure everything that needs to be looked at is fully inspected,” said John Nielsen, director of AAA’s Approved Auto Repair network.

Some of the items to be checked at this time of year include all fluids; especially antifreeze; tires; wheel alignment; brakes; lights; belts; hoses; and battery life expectancy.

“AAA regularly inspects the shops in its approved network to make sure they continuously meet its high standards for employing qualified technicians, using quality parts and service equipment, meeting and exceeding customer satisfaction requirements and following ethical business practices, Nielson said.”

Also important in preparing for winter driving is the need to adjust driving patterns to fit the season, Nielsen said. Visibility is reduced and the road surface is often degraded during the winter months.

Motorists can increase their safety by doing the following:

Improve visibility by turning on headlights in the late afternoon before the sun begins to set. Always use low-beam headlights in fog, rain or snow.

Be sure to signal your intention to turn well in advance.

Clear all snow and ice from windows, the roof, the hood, the trunk, mirrors, lights and signals.

Observe all speed limits and reduce speed whenever road conditions or visibility are compromised by foul weather.

Avoid sudden starts, stops and hard turns; especially when roads are slippery or wet.

Don’t brake hard and use the proper braking technique for the vehicle you drive. Cars with anti-lock brakes require a steady, gradual application of pressure to the brake pedal. Cars without anti-lock brakes may need firm pressure on the brake pedal just short of wheel lockup, and then easing off the brake slightly before reapplying pressure.

Anticipate potential danger on the road such as icy bridges, snow- covered lane markings, or stalled cars. Decrease speed, increase distance between the vehicle in front of you, or change lanes to avoid trouble.

There are more than 7,500 AAA approved repair facilities in North America. The names and addresses of these shops can be located at www.aaa.com, or by calling your local AAA motor club. All AAA approved shops are required to prominently display their affiliation with AAA outside place of business, and many advertise AAA approval in the telephone directory.

Many AAA clubs also will be offering free car care checks in October. Consumers should contact their local AAA club for availability and details.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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