AAA urging drives to be better prepared for breakdowns

Staff report

COLUMBUS — This summer, AAA expects to rescue 7 million American drivers, including more than 282,000 in Ohio. About 40 percent of these drivers aren’t prepared for emergency breakdowns, according to a AAA survey. With three quarters of family travelers planning a road trip, AAA reminds drivers to take steps to prepare for a safe road trip.

“Roadside breakdowns continue to rise each year and can be a safety hazard for everyone on the road,” said Cliff Ruud, managing director of AAA Automotive.

Unprepared Drivers

During 2016, AAA rescued more than 278,000 Ohio drivers. Top breakdowns include dead batteries, flat tires and lockouts. The auto club expects numbers to soar this year, and finds many drivers are not prepared.

Two-thirds have never had their car battery tested prior to their vehicle failing to start.

One in five do not know how to change a tire.

About 40 percent to not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle.

While AAA aims to resolve problems at the roadside, more than 155,000 Ohio motorists will experience significant vehicle issues that require a tow. Many newer vehicles are especially susceptible to tire issues requiring a tow, because more than 29 million cars sold in the past decade do not come with a spare tire.

Prevent Roadside Problems

Before hitting the road this summer, AAA recommends all motorists perform the following:

Properly Inflate Tires: Driving on underinflated tires can cause tires to overhead and increase the likelihood of a blowout. Last summer, AAA assisted more than 33,000 Ohio drivers with flat tires. To help prevent flats, check tire pressure before driving, and inflate them to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – not the number molded into the tire sidewall.

Check Battery: Summer heat breaks down car batteries and accelerates corrosion. Last summer, this left more than 48,000 Ohio drivers stranded without warning. If a battery is more than 3 years get it checked by an automotive technician.

Prevent Lockouts: More than 35,000 Ohio drivers locked themselves out of their cars last summer. To prevent lockouts, always take keys when exiting the car and bring a spare key on every trip. Avoid exposing keyless-entry remotes or smart keys to water and replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Pack an Emergency Kit: Just in case, pack every vehicle with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kid, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables, reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.

“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,” said Ruud.

What to do if you breakdown:

If faced with a vehicle emergency, AAA recommends motorists safely steer their car off the roadway, turn on emergency flashers to alert other drivers and exit the vehicle on the side facing away from traffic. Once everyone is in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel-, insurance-, financial- and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited online at

Staff report