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Contact(s):
Rose White
phone: 402.938.3806
November 23, 2012
AAA Provides Winter Driving Tips

 AAA Provides Tips to Help Motorists Face the Challenges of  Winter Driving

Snow and cold weather make driving conditions more difficult for motorists, especially during storms when icy conditions prevail.    AAA Nebraska advises motorists to prepare themselves and their vehicles for dangerous road conditions.  
“Motorists should allow extra time to get to their destination,” advises Rose White, public affairs director for AAA Nebraska. “Since speed is a factor in many crashes, never be in a hurry when road conditions are slick. Monitor weather conditions and follow the advice from authorities. If it is not safe to travel and you don’t need to venture out, don’t drive. Wait until the road conditions improve.”
 
If you must travel, motorists are encouraged to log on to www.511.Nebraska.gov. The 511 Traveler Information System provides information on highway surface conditions, closures and restrictions, AMBER Alerts, and site-specific weather forecasts.   More than 225 Nebraska Department of Roads staff members and Nebraska State Patrol officers serve as field reporters to update the information around the clock. In addition, more than 100 highway cameras are used to provide travelers with live views of road conditions. Nebraska road condition information is also featured in a downloadable application for cell phone users at NDORTRAVELER.MOBI. Recorded message updates on Nebraska road conditions may be obtained by dialing 511 on a landline or cellular phone. When traveling outside of Nebraska, dial 1-800-906-9069 for updated information on our state’s road conditions.
AAA recommends that motorists keep emergency supplies in their vehicle, including a cell phone, boots, gloves, blanket, a “coffee can heater,” flashlight and reflective triangle.
 
“If you become stranded on a highway, it is best to stay with the vehicle.   If you can start your engine, run it for a few minutes at a time, just long enough to keep warm. Always clear snow away from the exhaust pipe area before you start the engine. A snow blocked exhaust pipe could cause deadly carbon monoxide gases to enter the passenger compartment,” warns White.
“If you see a stranded motorist and you are unable to render aid, dial *55 on your cell phone and provide the dispatcher with a description of the vehicle, number of passengers, if known, and details about the vehicle’s location, such as the nearest mile marker number or landmark,” she added.
 
Defensive Driving
AAA recommends the following tips for winter driving:
  • Before starting out in snowy weather, remove the snow from the entire car so it doesn’t blow onto your windshield or the windshields of other drivers. Make sure your mirrors, lights, brake lights and turn signals are clean.
 
·         To increase your visibility during the daylight hours, drive with your low-beam headlights illuminated. 
 
·         All passengers should be safely secured with their safety belts fastened. Any items that may become dangerous flying projectiles during a crash should be stored in the trunk.
 
·         The driver’s hands should be properly positioned on the steering wheel, keeping in mind that during a crash, the steering column airbag may deploy. (Check your vehicle’s owner manual for proper hand positioning.)
 
·         If you have teen drivers in your family, restrict their driving privileges until you have the opportunity to test their driving skills in an empty, snow packed or icy parking lot.   They need to understand that vehicle’s operate differently when roads are slick or snow packed.   
           
·         Watch for icy surfaces on bridges and intersections, even when the rest of the road seems to be in good condition.
 
·         Always reduce your speed and increase your following distance when poor road or weather conditions prevail.
 
·         Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by other drivers will alert you to problems and give you extra seconds to react.
 
·         When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of trucks, which need more time and distance than passenger vehicles to stop. Hard braking may cause a vehicle to skid.
 
·         Never use cruise control if the roads are wet, slick or snow packed.
 
·         Remember that four-wheel drive helps you to get going quicker, but it won't help you stop any faster.
 
·         If your vehicle is equipped with anti-lock brakes, apply constant, firm pressure to the pedal when stopping. You may feel or hear a thumping sound when the system is engaged.
 
Proper Preparation
Motorists can help keep their vehicles on the road by doing the following:
  • Check your battery strength. Faulty batteries cause more car starting problems than any other factor. At 0 degrees, a good battery has 35 percent less starting power. Many automotive facilities can quickly check your battery’s power using a hand-held computer.

     
  • Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage, put a tarp over the hood or park protected from prevailing winds. To keep doors from freezing shut, place a plastic trash bag between the door and the frame.

     
  • Keep the fuel tank at least half-full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.
 
Emergency Road Kit
 
Each vehicle in your family should be equipped with a winter emergency road kit that contains the following:
• Plastic container of abrasive material such as sand or salt. (Use an empty plastic ice cream bucket to store your sand.) 
 
• Small snow shovel and ice scraper
 
• Flashlight with extra batteries
 
• Winter grade windshield washer solvent
 
• Empty coffee can filled with candles and matches (mini-furnace)
 
• Mobile phone, pre-programmed with rescue apps and important phone numbers including family members and emergency services
 
• First-aid kit
 
• Non-perishable snacks
 
• Blankets, thermal sleeping bag, boots, heavy socks, gloves, hat, and scarves
 
• Jumper cable with safety goggles
 
• Warning devices (flares or triangles)
 
• Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
 
• Large plastic trash bags, newspapers (use as insulation between layers of clothing)
 
• Red scarf or flag, or folding windshield sun visor that indicates Call Police
 
Phone Applications
Android and iPhone users can download AAA Mobile, AAA’s mobile smartphone app that provides AAA services for all motorists, such as mapping and gas price comparisons, as well as member-exclusive benefits including roadside assistance. AAA Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is necessary to take advantage of unique member benefits such as roadside assistance. For more information on AAA Mobile, visit AAA.com/Mobile.
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