Posts Tagged ‘roadside’

Tamra JohnsonNew AAA Foundation study shows that more than 200,000 Crashes Are Caused by Road Debris

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 11, 2016)- More than 200,000 crashes involved debris on U.S. roadways during the past four years, according to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Road debris has resulted in approximately 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths between 2011 and 2014. AAA is calling for drivers to properly secure their loads to prevent dangerous debris.

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AAA researchers examined common characteristics of crashes involving road debris and found that:

  • Nearly 37 percent of all deaths in road debris crashes resulted from the driver swerving to avoid hitting an object. Overcorrecting at the last minute to avoid debris can increase a driver’s risk of losing control of their vehicle and make a bad situation worse.
  • More than one in three crashes involving debris occur between 10:00 a.m. and 3:59 p.m., a time when many people are on the road hauling or moving heavy items like furniture or construction equipment.
  • Debris-related crashes are much more likely to occur on Interstate highways. Driving at high speeds increases the risk for vehicle parts to become detached or cargo to fall onto the roadway.

“This new report shows that road debris can be extremely dangerous but all of these crashes are preventable,” said Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers can easily save lives and prevent injuries by securing their loads and taking other simple precautions to prevent items from falling off the vehicle.”

About two-thirds of debris-related crashes are the result of items falling from a vehicle due to improper maintenance and unsecured loads. The most common types of vehicle debris are:

  • Parts becoming detached from a vehicle (tires, wheels, etc.) and falling onto the roadway
  • Unsecured cargo like furniture, appliances and other items falling onto the roadway
  • Tow trailers becoming separated and hitting another vehicle or landing on the roadway

Drivers can decrease their chances of being involved in a road debris crash by:

  • Maintaining Their Vehicles: Drivers should have their vehicles checked regularly by trained mechanics. Badly worn or underinflated tires often suffer blowouts that can leave pieces of tire on the roadway. Exhaust systems and the hardware that attach to the vehicle can also rust and corrode, causing mufflers and other parts to drag and eventually break loose. Potential tire and exhaust system problems can easily be spotted by trained mechanics as part of the routine maintenance performed during every oil change.
  • Securing Vehicle Loads: When moving or towing furniture, it is important to make sure all items are secured. To properly secure a load, drivers should:
    1. Tie down load with rope, netting or straps
    2. Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
    3. Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
    4. Don’t overload the vehicle
    5. Always double check load to make sure a load is secure

“Drivers have a much bigger responsibility when it comes to preventing debris on the roads than most realize,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “It’s important for drivers to know that many states have hefty fines and penalties for drivers who drop items from their vehicle onto the roadway, and in some cases states impose jail time.”

Currently every state has laws that make it illegal for items to fall from a vehicle while on the road. Most states’ penalties result in fines ranging from $10-$5,000, with at least 16 states listing jail as a possible punishment for offenders. AAA encourages drivers to educate themselves about specific road debris laws in their state. Drivers should also practice defensive driving techniques while on the road to prevent debris related crashes from occurring.

“Continually searching the road at least 12 to 15 seconds ahead can help drivers be prepared in the case of debris,” said William Van Tassel, Manager of Driver Training Programs for AAA. “Always try to maintain open space on at least one side of your vehicle in case you need to steer around an object. If you see you are unable to avoid debris on the roadway, safely reduce your speed as much as possible before making contact.”

AAA also recommends that drivers avoid tailgating and remain alert while on the road. Additional tips on defensive driving and how to report road debris to the proper authorities are available online at AAA.com/PreventRoadDebris.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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 on the Internet at AAA.com. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

Despite Vehicle Advances, Break Downs at Record High

July 20th, 2016 by Jessica Souto

Mariam Ali Contact TileAAA rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 20, 2016) – Despite advances in vehicle technology, including maintenance reminders and other dashboard alerts designed to mitigate roadside trouble, AAA rescued a record-breaking 32 million drivers in 2015, with more battery, flat tire and key problems than ever before, a new study shows. Vehicles fewer than five years old in particular experienced a higher proportion of tire and key-related issues than older vehicles, suggesting that the trend toward eliminating the spare tire and moving to electronic keyless ignitions may have unintended consequences.

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“Vehicles today are advanced more than ever, yet are still vulnerable to breakdowns,” said Cliff Ruud, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Solutions. “Sleek, low profile tires are highly susceptible to damage, electronic keyless ignitions can zap battery life and despite advanced warning systems, more than half a million drivers ran out of gas last year.”

Owners of new vehicles may be unaware that some new vehicle designs and features may leave them vulnerable at the roadside. To reduce vehicle weight and boost fuel economy, spare tires are being eliminated from new vehicles at alarming rates, and are being replaced with tire inflator kits that can only remedy some flat tire situations. Additionally, new keyless ignition systems can drain the battery life when keys are stored too close to the vehicle and can lock a driver out of the vehicle while the engine is still running. Finally, despite nearly all new vehicles being equipped with low fuel warning alerts and range estimations, a higher proportion of drivers are using these systems to push the limits between fuel ups.

Other key findings from an analysis of AAA’s 2015 roadside assistance data include:

  • Battery failures, flat tires and keys locked inside the vehicle remain the top roadside assistance requests.
  • Vehicles fewer than five years old have a higher proportion of tire, key and fuel-related issues than older vehicles. Due in part to complex, electronic vehicle designs, one-in-five service calls for a newer vehicle required a tow to a repair facility.
  • Vehicles between 6 and 10 years old have the highest proportion of battery-related issues, as most batteries have a three- to five-year life.
  • Roadside assistance calls peak in the summer (8.3 million) followed by winter (8.1 million), fall (7.8 million) and spring (7.7 million).
  • Drivers are most likely to request roadside assistance on Mondays and least likely to request assistance on Sundays.
  • Drivers in the West experienced the most breakdowns, followed by the South, the Northeast and the Midwest.
  • Despite advances in key technology, AAA came to the rescue of more than four million drivers locked out of their vehicles.

“Drivers today have increasingly-connected lifestyles, and want reliable, flexible service options when trouble strikes,” continued Ruud. “AAA has responded with flexible roadside assistance offerings nationwide including app-based service requests and the ability to track assigned service vehicles in real time on a smartphone.”

To help prevent millions of roadside breakdowns from happening, AAA offers the following recommendations for common roadside problems:

  • Check for a spare tire: Before purchasing a car, check that the vehicle includes a spare tire. If it doesn’t, consider adding one as an option. Tire inflator kits — which have replaced spare tires on tens of millions of vehicles –cannot remedy all types of tire damage.
  • Check tires: At least once a month, check the tire pressure to ensure proper inflation. This affects tire wear and vehicle handling. Tires should be rotated based on the manufacturer’s recommended schedule for the vehicle.
  • Lockouts: AAA recommends motorists take special care of their “smart keys” and keyless entry fobs. Always take keys when exiting the car, avoid exposing keyless-entry remote or smart keys to water and always replace the key or fob battery when recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  • Battery: AAA recommends that drivers have their vehicle’s battery tested when it reaches three years of age and on an annual basis thereafter. AAA’s Mobile Battery Service offers free battery testing for AAA members.
  • Pack an emergency kit: A recent AAA survey shows that more than 40 percent of motorists do not carry an emergency kit in their vehicle. AAA recommends that every driver have a well-stocked emergency kit, which includes a mobile phone and car charger; a flashlight with extra batteries; a first-aid kit; drinking water; extra snacks/food for your travelers and any pets; battery booster cables; and emergency flares or reflectors.

Before hitting the road, download the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, Android and Apple Watch. Travelers can use the app to request AAA roadside assistance, route a trip, find the lowest gas prices, access exclusive member discounts, book a hotel and more. In addition, AAA members can also track in real time the location of their assigned vehicle with Service Tracker. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 56 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 on the Internet at AAA.com.

Ginnie PritchettNation’s largest motor club recognizes best in service with annual award  

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 26, 2013) – AAA honored four roadside assistance companies with the 2013 AAA/CAA Service Providers of Excellence gold-level award during its annual Automotive Conference in San Diego. These award-winning businesses were selected by a panel of AAA/CAA club executives and judged on service excellence, innovative business practices, and community involvement.  They are:

  • Elite Auto Services LLC – Pataskala, OH; AAA Ohio Auto Club
  • Guilford Texaco Inc. – Guilford, CT; AAA Southern New England
  • Wind-n-Sea Towing – San Diego, CA; Automobile Club of Southern California
  • Remorquage Asselin & Dion Inc. – Sherbrooke, Québec; CAA Québec

“This group is committed to the everyday rescue efforts put forth 29 million times annually on behalf of stranded AAA and CAA motorists and we are pleased to honor them with this award,” said AAA Roadside Programs and Benefits Director Doug McLendon. “Since this job carries with it inherent dangers, AAA reminds all motorists to give roadside responders room to work. Slow down and or move over when you encounter flashing lights at the roadside so these highway heroes can perform their job safely.”

The gold-level winners were chosen from 320 road service companies nominated by AAA and CAA clubs in North America. Gold-level winners were honored during the June AAA Automotive conference, and will be commemorated in the AAA display at the International Towing & Recovery Museum and Hall of Fame in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Sponsors of the event include AAA business partners and Preferred Suppliers who provide an expansive list of benefits and discounts to AAA affiliates. Gold-level sponsors include  Club Assist, Lexus, and Santander/Sovereign Bank, with AW Direct being a silver-level sponsor. Bronze sponsors include Cintas, Ford, I Drive Safely, Knapheide, Midway Ford, Miller Industries, Mitchell 1, NAPA, SSCS Digital Dispatch, Sokolis Group fuel management, and Unifirst.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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 on the Internet at AAA.com.

Ginnie PritchettAAA offers tips and advice to help motorists stay safe and get back on the go after a breakdown

ORLANDO, Fla., (February 21, 2013) – With more than 125 million vehicles on the roadway and Americans relying on their cars for nearly every part of their life,  AAA recognizes one of the most stressful things  a motorist can encounter is a sudden breakdown. In 2012, AAA received more than 28 million roadside assistance calls. While 58 percent of those breakdowns could be resolved at the roadside by AAA technicians, nearly 12 million vehicles needed to be towed to a local repair shop for further help.

“Being stranded with your vehicle can be a very stressful experience,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s Director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “It is important to be prepared for a break-down. There are several things to remember that can help keep you safe and get you back on the road more quickly.”

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What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down on a Roadway

Since surroundings, traffic patterns and vehicle hazards vary, it is important to continually monitor and evaluate your situation. AAA offers the following guidelines and general suggestions for motorists experiencing a breakdown.

If the car is clearly experiencing a problem but can still be driven a short distance, drive to a safe location such as a parking lot. If the vehicle stops running but still has coasting momentum, guide it to the far right shoulder as far off the road as possible while remaining on level ground. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other motorists.

If the car cannot get completely off the roadway, switch on the safety/emergency flashers and consider leaving the vehicle and moving to a safer location. Occupants should not remain in a vehicle if there is a possibility it may be struck by other traffic. For the same reason, it is generally not a good idea to attempt to push a disabled car off the road.

Drivers and passengers should exit a broken down car on the side away from traffic if at all possible. Use extreme caution and watch for oncoming vehicles, especially at night or in bad weather when visibility is limited. While waiting for help, never stand directly behind or in front of the disabled vehicle.

In addition to turning on a vehicle’s emergency flashers, drivers can signal other motorists that they have a problem by raising the car hood, tying a brightly colored handkerchief or scarf to the antenna or door handle, or setting out flares, warning triangles or emergency beacons. These signals can help other drivers recognize there is a problem and hopefully prompt them to slow down, move over to allow more room and proceed with caution as they pass.

Communicating Your Situation

Once the driver and passengers are in a safe location, request assistance from a road service provider such as AAA. Make note of surroundings, landmarks, buildings or road signs to help relay your location. Android and iPhone users can also download the AAA Mobile app which provides easy access to roadside assistance, vehicle battery quotes, Approved Auto Repair (AAR) locations, maps, directions, member-exclusive discounts and travel planning.

Where Do I Send My Car?

Once assistance arrives, if the technician is unable to remedy the problem at the roadside, the car will have to be towed somewhere for repair. Unless the driver is a savvy automotive do-it-yourselfer who wants the car towed home, the vehicle will most likely be towed directly to a repair facility.

When traveling away from home, or if the driver does not have a regular repair facility, AAA can provide the names and locations of nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities. These quality shops have met stringent professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service. AAA Approved Auto Repair is a free public service that can help any motorist identify trustworthy, quality auto repair facilities. Motorists can search for nearby facilities online at AAA.com/Repair. Approved Auto Repair facilities also can be quickly found with the AAA Mobile app or, on other web-enabled mobile phones, using AAA’s Mobile Web site at AAA.mobi.

To help drivers prepare for these unfortunate situations, AAA offers an in-depth guide called “What to Do When Your Vehicle Breaks Down: The AAA Guide to Personal Safety.” The guide can be downloaded for free here.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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 on the Internet at AAA.com.


ORLANDO, Fla., (January 14, 2013) – Since the inception of the AAA Mobile Battery Program, AAA/CAA clubs have tested more than 22 million batteries at the roadside, resulting in over 7.5 million defective batteries being replaced on the scene.  All AAA/CAA members are eligible for the service that includes a visit from a trained Battery Service Technician to their location to test their battery and if a problem is identified, members have the option to purchase a new AAA battery onsite. The average member cost of an installed AAA battery is $119 and includes a three-year free replacement warranty.

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What Should You Know About Your Vehicle Battery?

The average life of a battery is 3-5 years, but driving conditions, climate, and lack of care and maintenance can shorten a battery’s lifespan. Here are some warning signs that you are at risk for a battery-related breakdown:

  • Your vehicle cranks slowly when trying to start
  • You hear a grinding, clicking or buzzing when you turn the ignition on
  • Your vehicle has stalled
  • Your headlights dim when you are idling but brighten when you rev the engine
  • Your battery is more than three years old

 

What to Do if You Have Suspect Your Battery is Failing
If you suspect an old battery is to blame for your vehicle trouble, call AAA. Battery testing is provided as part of the free Roadside Assistance service members are entitled to each year.  As a benefit to members, AAA’s Mobile Battery Service can install a new AAA battery and recycle the old battery for you.   AAA recycles every battery replaced, saving resources and keeping hazardous waste from landfills.

Android and iPhone users can download AAA Mobile, AAA’s mobile smartphone app that provides select AAA services for all motorists, such as obtaining a battery replacement quote, mapping and gas price comparison. AAA Membership is not required to download and use AAA apps, but is necessary to take advantage of unique member benefits such as roadside assistance and AAA Discounts.  For more information on AAA Mobile, visit AAA.com/Mobile.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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 on the Internet at AAA.com.

ErinSteppAAA launches latest mobile app, giving access to AAA services, all in one place    

ORLANDO, Fla., (July 18, 2012) – AAA‘s newest app, AAA Mobile, bundles services for motorists, such as mapping and gas price comparison, as well as member-exclusive benefits including roadside assistance and discounts. The new app available for iPhone and Android-compatible devices combines the AAA Discounts, TripTik® Mobile and Roadside apps into one app creating the perfect companion for any motorist. AAA Mobile delivers a complete mobile experience for members; centering around help at the roadside, travel plans and getting the latest discount at your favorite store with AAA’s Show Your Card and Save® program.

Download the App

“AAA is dedicated to evolving with our members by providing them with the latest ways to stay informed and access all their AAA membership provides,” says Marshall L. Doney, AAA National Vice President, Automotive, Financial Services and e-Business. “We are very pleased to be able to provide this new app to our members and future members. The new AAA Mobile app will provide a convenient solution to those members looking to maximize their membership benefits on the go.”

Available now for free in iTunes and Google Play app stores, the AAA Mobile app features include:

  • Road Service Request (app identifies location)
  • AAA member discounts
  • AAA Approved Auto Repair locator
  • Gas station locations and updated gas price information
  • Diamond Ratings for AAA Approved hotels and restaurants
  • Hotel booking capability powered by Travelocity
  • Listings for AAA Approved attractions and campgrounds
  • AAA branch office locations
  • TripTik® travel planning with interactive maps and directions
  • Instant battery replacement quotes
  • Electric vehicle charging station locations
  • Join AAA

AAA Mobile is available to all mobile users; however some services and benefits are only available to AAA members such as roadside assistance and discounts. The app was launched as an update to the current AAA Discounts app in the iTunes and Google Play (formerly Android Market) app stores.  Any user who has the AAA Discounts app downloaded on their phone should have been notified that an update was available.  When updated, the AAA Mobile app will replace AAA Discounts on their phone.  The current AAA Roadside and AAA TripTik Mobile apps will soon be updated to display a message that these apps have been replaced with AAA Mobile, download the new app, and delete AAA Roadside and AAA TripTik Mobile apps.

Smartphones with mobile applications are valuable tools before a vehicle is in motion; however, they greatly increase motorist distractions when used while driving.  Distracted driving can have deadly consequences.  AAA urges motorists to minimize distractions behind the wheel by not using wireless devices, such as cell phones with mobile applications, while driving.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 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. Members and non-members can visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.

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