AAA offers tips to prepare your vehicle, stock an emergency kit and plan for the roads

BELLEVUE, Wash. — As forecasters predict wintry conditions across mountain passes, AAA Washington reminds drivers to prepare for what could be a long winter driving season.

Vehicle Check-up

A little vehicle maintenance now can help drivers avoid unexpected repair costs and breakdowns. AAA recommends the following checks:

  • Have a technician test your battery and charging systems to make sure both will fire when temperatures start dropping
  • Inspect all belts and hoses, replace those with visible damage or cracks
  • Check tire pressure more frequently, keep inflated to recommended levels
  • Replace any tire with tread that measures less than 3/32-inches deep
  • Top off all fluids
  • Replace windshield wiper blades
  • Make sure headlights, brake lights, turn signals and hazards are working

Winter Emergency Kit

While all drivers hope for a trip without complications, AAA wants you to prepare for the worst with an emergency kit that includes the following items:

  • Charged mobile phone (pre-programmed with rescue apps, emergency services and family phone numbers) and an extra phone battery
  • First-aid kit
  • Warning devices (flares or triangles)
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Ice scraper, snow brush and snow shovel
  • Tire chains
  • Tire gauge
  • Bag of abrasive material (sand, kitty litter) or traction mats
  • Blankets
  • Extra set of warm clothes (gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Rags or paper towels
  • Basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrench)
  • Enough water and non-perishable food items for each human and pet passenger
  • Window washer solvent, winter formula recommended
  • COVID-19 supplies — masks, gloves, disinfecting wipes

Winter Driving

To keep track of changing conditions, AAA urges drivers to keep an eye on local forecasts and monitor the roads and passes on WSDOT’s website. When it’s time to head out, drivers should avoid restrictive winter clothing, set navigation/map systems before leaving home and put away all distractions. When the snow and ice appear, drivers need to slow down, increase following distance and stay alert.

AAA has all your winter driving resources in one place, including specific tips for driving on ice and snow and advice on what to do during a breakdown.