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Thanksgiving Travel Alert: AAA Anticipates Aiding Nearly 1,900 in Kentucky During Holiday

From AAA

LEXINGTON, Ky. – While meal prepping and family gatherings are top of mind as Thanksgiving approaches, AAA is reminding travelers that a little planning can go a long way to avoid a holiday breakdown. AAA estimates that it will rescue over 400,000 stranded motorists nationwide during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend with nearly 1,900 in Central and Eastern Kentucky alone.

“With about 690,000 Kentuckians expected to travel by vehicle during the holiday, many motorists could unfortunately be left stranded away from home this holiday if they haven’t prepared their vehicles,” said Lori Weaver Hawkins, public affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “While AAA will be at the ready, it is important for all drivers to ensure that their vehicles are properly maintained, even if they are just driving across town.”

Whether heading out for the Thanksgiving holiday or later during the holiday season, AAA recommends going over a winter checklist for motorists.

  • Antifreeze. Check antifreeze annually to ensure it will withstand the winter cold. A 50/50 mixture of coolant and water will protect against freezing.

  • Windshield wipers and washer fluid. Replace wiper blades if they do not clear the glass in a single swipe without streaking. Fill the windshield washer reservoir with winter detergent fluid to prevent freeze up.

  • Tires. Cold weather reduces tire inflation pressure, so check tire pressures frequently and maintain the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended levels.

  • Battery. Check for a secure fit and clean away any corrosion on the battery, connectors and cables. If the battery is out of warranty, it’s advisable to have it tested before cold weather hits.

  • Belts and hoses. Replace accessory drive belts that are cracked, glazed or frayed, as well as coolant hoses that are visibly worn, excessively soft or bulging. Check for leaks around hose clamps and the water pump.

  • Pack an emergency kit. Every vehicle should be equipped with a well-stocked emergency kit that includes a mobile phone and car charger, a flashlight with extra batteries, a first-aid kit, a basic toolkit with tire pressure gauge and adjustable wrench, windshield washer solution, jumper cables and emergency flares or reflectors, drinking water, extra snacks and food for travelers and pets.

Breakdowns can put drivers and their passengers at risk, especially on busy highways. At the first sign of a mechanical problem, motorists should try to safely move their vehicle as far to the right as possible, away from the lanes of traffic. Then stay in the vehicle with your seatbelt on and call for help immediately. When help arrives, remain in your vehicle until police or AAA’s Roadside Rescue approaches with further instructions.

Slow Down, Move Over

Roadside workers – including law enforcement officers, road construction crews, and tow truck operators – spend much of their workday mere feet away from speeding traffic, putting their lives on the line to keep our roadways and vehicle drivers and passengers safe.

“First responders and roadside workers put themselves at risk every day to help people who are in need of emergency assistance or whose vehicles are broken down,” Weaver Hawkins added. “To ensure safety, the best thing drivers can do is move over and away from or slow down significantly when near vehicles and people on the side of the road. Whether this is a police officer, ambulance, fire or tow truck or a stranded motorist, slow down, move over and change lanes to create safe space around them. Their lives are on your shoulders.”

To protect emergency responders and roadside workers, AAA offers these precautionary tips:

  • Always remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.

  • Watch for situations where emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility service vehicles or disabled vehicles are stopped on the side of the road.

  • All 50 States have enacted “Slow Down, Move Over” laws, but very few Americans know they exist.

  • When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of a two-lane roadway, drivers should slow down to a speed that is safe and approach with caution unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker on the scene. Some states recommend slowing to a speed that is 10-20 mph less than the posted speed limit.

  • On multi-lane roadways, slow down when you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle at the roadside and, if possible, move over into an adjacent lane. If you are unable to switch lanes, slow to a speed that is safe and reasonable. Some states recommend slowing to a speed that is 10-20 mph less than the posted speed limit.

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