News From Terre Haute, Indiana

January 21, 2013

Motorists urged to prepare for frigid temperatures

AAA Hoosier Motor Club
News Release

INDIANAPOLIS — Extremely cold temperatures are expected to embrace Indiana throughout the next 48 hours and AAA Hoosier Motor Club wants motorists to plan ahead.


Cold weather can adversely affect automobiles in a number of ways. Tire pressure can drop considerably, batteries become less effective, engine belts lose a certain amount of flexibility and hoses are put under a lot of stress.


The night before a big chill...

Make sure your gas tank is filled up at least half way to avoid fuel line freeze-up

Be sure your tires are properly inflated

Spray WD-40 or another general purpose lubricant into key holes to prevent frozen locks

Be sure to prepare a roadside emergency kit consisting of no less than a bag of abrasive material (sand, salt or cat litter), a small snow shovel and snow brush, traction mats, a flashlight with fresh batteries, ice-thawing window-washing solvent, gloves or mittens, an ice scraper, a cloth or paper towels, booster cables, a blanket, warning flares or triangles, a fully-charged cellular phone with emergency numbers and non-perishable food/snack items

DO NOT wash your car, especially if it's going to sit outside

If you encounter frozen locks...

Spray WD-40 or another de-icing fluid from a warm can directly into the lock

Cup your hands together and blow warm air directly into the key holes

DO NOT force a key or other instrument into the lock

NEVER pour hot water on or into a frozen lock

Windshield wipers, washer reservoir and vehicle exterior

Clean windows offer optimal visibility so obviously, wiper blades that streak the windshield should be replaced. The washer reservoir bottle should be filled with an antifreeze washer solvent. To prevent damage to your wiper blades or wiper motor, be sure the wipers are free of ice and snow and turned off before starting the engine.


Additionally, when warming your vehicle up, never do so in an enclosed area and never leave a vehicle unattended with the engine running.


Drive Cautiously

Navigating Indiana roadways during the winter months can be hazardous so motorists should exercise caution to help maintain safety for themselves and their passengers, other drivers and even roadside workers.

Before hitting the roads during inclement winter weather, remove as much snow as possible from your vehicle so that it doesn't blow onto your windshield or onto the windshield of other automobiles. Mirrors and lights should be clean as well.

Low-beam headlights should always be illuminated.

When the roads are icy, drivers should slow down and allow extra time to reach a given point of destination. Delaying trips all together is an even better idea; at least until sunlight and salt trucks can combine to make navigation safer.

Drivers should allow sufficient room for maintenance vehicles and plows on roadways. In fact, it's recommended that motorists stay at least 15 car lengths (200 feet) back. If passing is necessary, do so on the maintenance vehicle's left-hand side.

Watch for icy surfaces on bridges, even when roads seem to be in good condition.

If you're stuck in snow, straighten your steering wheel and accelerate slowly. Sand or cat litter can be added under the drive wheels to help avoid tire spinning.

When tires lose traction, drivers should continue to look and steer in the direction they want to go. If drive wheels start to spin or slide while going up a hill, ease off the accelerator slightly before gently returning to a safe driving speed.

Look farther ahead in traffic. Actions by others can alert you to potential problem areas and can help allow for additional reaction time.

When changing lanes, avoid cutting in front of large trucks. They need additional time and distance to stop.

Cruise control functions should never be used in precipitation or when temperatures are below freezing.