Summer is almost here, and as the leader in roadside assistance, AAA will be there to help those who are forced to make a pit stop before they make it to their destination.
The auto club expects to rescue 7 million American drivers nationwide this summer (June 21 to Sept. 23). This includes more than 169,000 calls for roadside assistance in Arizona – a 1.2 percent increase from last year. In Arizona alone, AAA will jumpstart more than 57,000 car batteries, change more than 21,000 tires and unlock more than 16,000 vehicles.
If you’re unprepared for roadside emergencies, you aren’t alone. AAA recently uncovered that two-thirds of American drivers have never 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.
To help drivers stay safe on the road this summer, the auto club offers the following roadside wisdom:
• 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.
• Follow road rules. Roadside assistance drivers encounter close calls regularly due to drivers not adhering to the state’s Move Over law. Arizona’s Move Over law requires motorists to move over or slow down for any vehicle, including stranded motorists and roadside workers, displaying flashing lights alongside a freeway or highway.
• Keep tools handy. Keep an emergency kit and original tools, such as the key to a wheel lock, in your vehicle at all times. A well-stocked emergency kit should include a cell phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit, windshield washer fluid, jumper cables, emergency flares, and enough drinking water and food for everyone in your traveling party.
• Have a breakdown plan. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers. Once in a safe location, request help from a road service provider. Under most circumstances, it is safest to remain buckled in your vehicle until help arrives.
• Know your location. When you experience a breakdown, the more details you know, the better. Landmarks, mile markers and other distinguishable surroundings can help drivers locate you sooner. AAA members can download the AAA Mobile app, which will send their GPS coordinates directly to AAA to expedite roadside assistance.
If you’re planning to travel by car this summer, take precautions to ensure you’re prepared for a safe road trip. After all, if you’ve ever been stranded on the side of the road, you know how stressful and dangerous it can be.