Holidays Fall On Weekends And Colder Than Usual Temperatures Are Contributors To Extra Preparation
BELLEVUE, Wash. — AAA is forecasting the highest level of travel on record this holiday season. Lots of people on the roads mixed with winter weather is a recipe for breakdowns. AAA Washington expects to rescue more than 13,800 motorist traveling between the two holiday weekends. A little maintenance and planning before heading out on your holiday road trip can prevent an unwelcome and inconvenient breakdown.
AAA Washington to rescue more than 13,800 motorists this Holiday Season
In Washington and northern Idaho, AAA expects to rescue more than 13,800 motorists in the days leading up to and following the Christmas and New Year holidays. The primary response for motorist calls include: a tow, lockout services and battery replacement or boost. AAA recommends motorists check the condition of their battery and tires before heading out on a road trip, especially as low temperatures continue to sweep the Pacific Northwest. Also, have vehicles inspected by a trusted repair shop, such as one of the more than 200 AAA Approved Auto Repair local facilities. Members can download the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com or call 1-800-AAA-HELP to request roadside assistance.
“Most roadside breakdowns can be prevented with a little maintenance,” said Jennifer Cook, AAA spokesperson. “In addition to making sure your vehicle is tuned up, AAA recommends drivers pack their patience and a winter driving kit.”
Winter Driving Kit
Be prepared with a winter driving kit that includes:
- Bag of abrasive materials such as sand, salt or cat litter for gaining traction in snow and ice
- Snow shovel
- Gloves or mittens
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Jumper cables
- Warning flare or triangles
- Cellular phone and emergency charger
- Food and water
- First aid kit
Winter Driving Tips
Winter storms and bad weather are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than two thousand road deaths every winter, according to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In 2014, there were more than 5,200 collisions and 24 fatality collisions here in Washington because of icy, snowy or slushy road conditions.
Colder than usual temperatures this holiday season, means drivers will need to ensure their vehicle is up for the challenge. When snow is in the forecast, do not drive unless necessary, or be prepared if you must drive.
- Drive during daylight hours
- Decrease your speed
- Increase your following distance
- If you begin to skid, don’t brake and steer in the direction you want the vehicle to go.
For more tips and winter driving advice from AAA, download a free copy of How to Go on Ice and Snow.
Gas prices have crept up a little after OPEC announced production cuts, but this hasn’t impacted people’s plans to travel this holiday. With gas prices low, auto travel is still the most popular mode of transportation for holiday travel. Today’s national average is $2.23, 21 cents higher than last year. In Washington, the average price of gasoline is $2.59 per gallon, 8 cents lower than a month ago and 17 cents less than a year ago. In Idaho, the average price is $2.25 per gallon, Oregon is $2.40, California is $2.66 and Montana is $2.19.
AAA Cautions against Impaired Driving this Holiday Season
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, one in five licensed drivers (21%) who drink at least occasionally reported having driven when they thought their alcohol level might have been close to, or possibly over, the legal limit in the past year.
“As we celebrate the holiday season, AAA urges everyone to refrain from drinking or doing drugs and getting behind the wheel of a vehicle,” said Cook. “Party hosts are key to keeping everyone safe. They can provide protein rich foods, non-alcoholic beverage options, call a cab for someone who has had too much to drink or offer guests a spare bedroom.”
Many local residents will be flying to a destination with holiday packages in tow. For those checking luggage, using a hard shell suitcase or packaging the gift in bubble wrap or packing peanuts will provide extra support for fragile gifts.
AAA Travel Experts recommend packing wrapping paper with you for use at your destination or wrapping gifts in gift bags that are easily accessible to TSA agents. For additional TSA holiday preparation info, visit: tsa.gov.
Download the AAA Mobile app before holiday travel
Before setting out for the holidays, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, make travel arrangements, request AAA roadside assistance, and find AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities and more. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.