TOWSON, MD (July 3, 2018) – The heatwave gripping the Mid-Atlantic region is playing havoc on vehicles just as a record-breaking 993,000 Marylanders plan to get away for the Fourth of July holiday. The majority, 86 percent or 863,000, of those travelers will be driving to their holiday destination.
AAA to the Rescue:
From Friday through Monday, as temperatures soared above 90 degrees, AAA Mid-Atlantic came to the rescue of over 25,000 motorists throughout the club’s five-state and Washington, D.C. territory, an increase of 12 percent over the same four-day period in 2017. Over 6,700 of the calls for roadside service were for stranded motorists in Maryland, also a 12 percent increase compared to the same time period last year. Tows, dead batteries, and flat tires are the top three reasons for roadside assistance. With the heatwave continuing into today, AAA Mid-Atlantic continues to experience strong call volume.
“Summer heat takes a toll on vehicles, causing overheated engines, tire blowouts and dead batteries,” said Christine Sarames Delise, a spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “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.”
For the six-day Fourth of July holiday travel period, Tuesday, July 3 through Sunday, July 8, AAA Mid-Atlantic expects to come to the rescue of more than 26,000 stranded motorists with more than 7,000 of those rescues in Maryland, based on last year’s call volume for the holiday period.
AAA offers the following tips to help avoid common roadside problems:
- Schedule a checkup. Take your vehicle to a trusted repair facility, such as a AAA Car Care Center in the Mid-Atlantic region or one of the more than 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America, 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. AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
- 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 toolkit with tire 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.
- Check the status of your AAA membership: Make sure the membership is up to date and review coverage level options to ensure lifestyle needs are met in case of a roadside emergency. Drivers should also program 1-800-AAA-HELP in their phones. For special offers on new AAA Memberships, use the promo code: “SAFETYNEW.” Current members renewing, can use the promo code: “SAFETY.” Call (866)-636-2377 or visit a nearby store. Locate a AAA store at AAA.com/Store.
AAA also recommends these 10 tips for making Independence Day road trips safer and more hassle-free:
- With busier roads during the holiday weekend, obey posted speed limits. Speed limits are based on safe driving in optimal conditions. Slow down if weather conditions or traffic congestion warrant it.
- Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Be extra vigilant and leave extra space for motorcycles.
- Have everyone in your vehicle wear their seat belts at all times.
- Avoid distractions while driving. Don’t use your cell phone while you’re behind the wheel. If needed, let a passenger respond to a message or look something up on your phone.
- Observe the Move Over Law when law enforcement emergency vehicles are on the side of the road. Change lanes or slow down to give sufficient clearance. Keep in mind, every state has a move-over law.
- 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.
- Remember—buzzed driving is drunk driving; never drink and drive. Plan ahead and have a designated driver or organize a ride if you’ll be consuming alcohol.
- For help in planning your road trip, if you are a AAA member, take advantage of maps and tourbooks, as well as discounts with many of the club’s travel partners such as hotels and Hertz rental cars.
- Find daily gas price updates for every state in America and key metro areas using AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report at GasPrices.AAA.com or via the AAA mobile app.
- Pack your patience, have a safe trip and enjoy the holiday.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.