Crippling cold and severe snowfall in Evansville has led to countless cars stranded on the road, and AAA has been there to assist many of them.
As of Tuesday, AAA responded to 731 calls for emergency roadside service in Evansville since the beginning of February. This artic blast saw a 15% increase in AAA service calls compared to this time last year.
“The combination of extremely cold temperatures and widespread snowfall makes this ongoing winter event especially challenging for motorists and their vehicles.” said Ray Posey, AAA Missouri Vice President of Automotive Services. “A spike in Emergency Roadside Service is not unusual during the winter months, but this weather event has contributed to a substantial increase.”
Dead or disabled vehicle batteries accounted for more than a quarter, 26%, of all AAA service calls in Evansville this February, an increase of 40% year-over-year. A car battery loses a third of its power in freezing weather. According to AAA, as the air outside cools, the oil in vehicles thickens, parts move slower and car batteries must use more power to turn over and start the engine.
With snow and ice still on some roadways and below freezing temperatures forecasted through the weekend, AAA recommends:
- Stay home.
- If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
- Clear all snow and ice from the vehicle’s exterior.
- This will reduce risk, because it increases your visibility. Additionally, drivers around you won’t be blinded by snow blowing off your vehicle.
- Drive slowly.
- Always adjust your speed to account for less traction when driving on snow or ice.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
- Apply the gas slowly to retain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: it takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
- Increase your following distance.
- Allow five to six seconds of following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. This extra space will allow you time to stop safely if the other driver suddenly brakes.
- Brake very smoothly.
- Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to smoothly apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Don’t pump the brakes.
- Don’t stop if you can avoid it.
- There’s a big difference in the amount of energy it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
- Don’t power up hills.
- Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads may cause your wheels to spin. Try to get a little momentum before you reach the hill and let that carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
- Don’t stop going up a hill.
- There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some momentum going on a flat roadway before making your way up the hill.
- Steer through a skid.
- When a vehicle begins to skid, it’s important not to panic. Continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Avoid slamming on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle’s balance and make it harder to control.