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What to do during a travel emergency.

Before the summer ends, AAA expects to rescue 7,000,000 U.S. drivers, with the majority facing battery, lock, and tire-related issues. This number could soar higher, with an AAA survey revealing that four out of 10 American drivers are unprepared for emergency breakdown situations. With three-quarters of family travelers planning a trip to their favorite vacation spot by car, AAA reminds drivers to take the necessary precautions to ensure they are well prepared for a safe road trip.

"Summer heat takes a toll on vehicles, causing overheating engines, tire blowouts, and dead batteries," warns Cliff Ruud, managing director of AAA Automotive, Heathrow, Fla. "Having a disabled vehicle is a stressful and dangerous situation, which is why AAA urges drivers to stock an emergency kit, have their battery tested, and inspect tires to make certain their cars are in road-ready condition."

Survey data shows that two-thirds of drivers never have proactively had their car battery tested; one in five do not know how to change a tire; and four in 10 do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle. With low-profile tires and the elimination of spare tires, many newer vehicles are especially susceptible to roadside trouble.

While more than half of members' problems are resolved at the roadside by AAA, over 3,000,000 drivers will experience vehicle issues that require a tow to a repair facility.

"Roadside breakdowns continue to rise each year and can be a safety hazard for everyone on the road," notes Ruud. "AAA is ready to help when vehicle troubles leave you stranded. However, travelers can minimize their risk by planning ahead and preparing properly."

AAA offers the following tips to help avoid common roadside problems:

Schedule a checkup. Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests, and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.

Pack an emergency kit. Every vehicle should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic tool kit with fire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, and emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks, and food for travelers and pets.

Prevent lockouts. Always take keys when exiting the car and bring a spare car key on every trip. Avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Additionally, AAA reminds drivers to take the following safety precautions on the road:

Drive distraction-free. Do not text or engage in distracting activities while driving, including interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers, or looking at other objects in the vehicle.

Observe the "Move Over" rule when law enforcement or emergency vehicles are on the side of the road.

Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. This is the law in all 50 states. 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.
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Title Annotation:Automotive Breakdowns
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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