AAA East Central anticipates having to help about 39,000 stranded motorists in the four-state region including Pennsylvania during the holiday travel period which started before Christmas and will end January 2nd. AAA’s Steve Popovich said the good news, is motorists can take an active role in avoiding being stranded.
“Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance,” he said, “we would suggest you have a winterization check done, things like the battery and electrical system component, tires, antifreeze, windshield wipers, all of the things that are critical to a vehicle’s proper operation during the winter season.”
The 39,000 stranded motorists are AAA members, so Popovich said the actual number may be higher. He said the number one cause of winter driving strandings is a dead vehicle battery.
“During the hot summer months it’s very hard on a lead/acid battery, the heat of the summer tends to disintegrate some of the components, most notably the lead inside the battery, so when the winter comes and the first time the temperature drops off, when you need the battery’s reserve capacity the most, it’s just not there,” said Popovich.
The second most common cause of vehicle roadside emergency calls is getting stuck. Motorists are advised to have their tires checked. Proper inflation and treading can help them stay on snowy and icy roads.
“There are things you actually have to go to a mechanic for like your electrical system check. On your own you can certainly check your tire pressure, have a look at your wipers, if you know what you’re doing have a look at your belts and hoses and if you see any wear there, you’d need to get that taken care of right away,” said Popovich.
Some 84.4 million drivers will be using the nation’s roadways over the holiday period, an increase over last year’s holiday travel numbers.