Major Winter Storm to Cause Rapid Freeze on Roadways

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Winter has officially arrived, and a storm is sweeping across the country. AAA Mid-Atlantic is urging travelers to monitor the situation and be prepared to make changes in your plans. The storm will begin as rain locally on Thursday, but a 40-plus degree temperature drop in a matter of hours on Friday will turn rain to snow and rapidly freeze roadways.

Additional Information from the Press Release:

On this, the first day of winter, AAA reminds motorists that planning and preparation will be key as a major winter storm moves across the country ahead of what is expected to be a busy holiday travel period. The storm will begin as rain locally on Thursday, but a 40-plus degree temperature drop in a matter of hours on Friday will turn rain to snow and create a flash freeze across the region, especially on roadways.

AAA is urging holiday travelers to be prepared to make changes to your plans this week. Roadways are expected to freeze in a matter of hours on Friday just as holiday travel is expected to ramp up.

No one ever plans to get stuck on the road. Motorists should pack a winter vehicle emergency kit and forget about it. Even those not planning to get away could find themselves stranded at the roadside as temperatures plummet.

“There is no convenient time to experience a breakdown, but over a holiday weekend in the extreme cold could be a worst-case scenario, especially if you are traveling with children or seniors,” says Margaret Cole, AAA Mid-Atlantic Club Fleet Manager. “AAA will respond to Members as quickly and safely as possible, but all motorists are encouraged to prepare now to avoid any problems down the road.”

Last winter, AAA responded to nearly 20,000 Emergency Roadside calls just in Delaware alone – and almost 30% of those calls were for dead batteries, calls that increase as temperatures drop.

Taking preventative measures and being prepared in the event of an emergency are key to ensuring everyone’s safety.

Three Ways to Prepare:

  1. Check Your Battery
  • Starting an engine in cold temperatures can take up to twice as much current as needed under normal conditions.
  • The average battery lasts 3 to 5 years. Often, there is no indication that it is not going to work. A battery that worked last week could fail under colder conditions.
  • This year, AAA has seen an increase in the number of batteries needing replacement, rather than just a jump-start.
  1. Check Your Tires
  • Check tire pressure. Colder temps may require adding air to your tires. As the air temperature drops outside, so does the air pressure in your tires. For every 10-degree change in air temperature, a tire’s pressure will change by about 1-2 PSI (pounds per square inch). 
  • Make sure tire-pressure levels match those found in either the owner’s manual or on the driver-side door jamb. Note that pressure levels may be different for front and rear tires.
  • Check tire tread. A healthy tread increases traction, essential for safe driving.
  • Check for a spare tire. Many newer vehicles do not come with a spare, which many drivers do not realize until they are stranded at the roadside.

AAA Offers FREE BATTERY and TIRE TESTING

In an effort to ensure everyone’s safety, AAA provides FREE battery and tire testing for Members at home or at work. We’ll come to you!

AAA also offers FREE battery and tire testing for Members and non-Members alike, by appointment, at any of our AAA Car Care, Insurance and Travel Centers and at most AAA Approved Auto Repair locations as well.

  1. Pack a Winter Emergency Kit

No one ever ‘expects’ to break down, but being prepared can be the difference between a minor inconvenience and an extremely dangerous situation. Always have these items on hand:

  • Ice scraper with brush
  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, cat litter) or traction mats
  • Shovel
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Flares or reflective triangle
  • Phone charger
  • Blankets and extra coats/hats/gloves
  • Non-perishable snacks and water
  • Extra medicines

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