Thousands of drivers call for help during the storm - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Thousands of drivers call AAA, towing companies for help during the storm


According to AAA in Connecticut, there have been more than 2,000 calls for various types of assistance since Winter Storm Bethany arrived and left the area.

On Thursday, AAA crews responded to 1,122 calls and 1,416 calls on Friday in the Greater Hartford Area and eastern Connecticut.

"Call volume has been high since the snow ended this morning," AAA said in a statement Friday.

AAA officials said the main types of calls they received were for tows, battery problems, lockouts and flat tires on vehicles.

"With the increasingly frigid conditions, we expect a high volume of calls on Saturday as well," AAA said.

Connecticut AAA officials offered the following helpful hints to make sure your vehicle is ready for all types of winter weather:

  • Battery and Charging System - Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. AAA members can request a visit from a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician who will test their battery and replace it on-site, if necessary. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can also test and replace weak batteries.
  • Battery Cables and Terminals - Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.
  • Drive Belts - Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib "serpentine" belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals.
  • Engine Hoses - Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or have an excessively spongy feeling.
  • Tire Type and Tread – In areas with heavy winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light to moderate snow conditions provided they have adequate tread depth. Replace any tire that has less than 3/32-inches of tread. Uneven tire wear can indicate alignment, wheel balance or suspension problems that must be addressed to prevent further tire damage.
  • Tire Pressure - Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently in fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner's manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver's side door jamb.
  • Air Filter - Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.
  • Coolant Levels - Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level annually with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.
  • Lights - Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
  • Wiper Blades - The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In regions where snow is common, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
  • Washer Fluid - Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
  • Brakes - If there is any indication of a brake problem, have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order.
  • Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids - Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
  • Emergency Road Kit - Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather.

Now that the snow has finally ended in the state, the next major issue Connecticut residents are facing, at least for the next several days, is the bitter cold.

"Real cold day, so all the batteries are not going to be able to start, "said Efrin Sanchez, who is an employee with AAA.

One West Hartford resident said she wasn't exactly surprised when her battery didn't start Friday morning. 

"Last night my son had to charge it," said Vicki Thaler, who called AAA on Friday. "I knew I needed a new battery, so I drove it home, called this morning, and I'm getting a new battery."

Crews for AAA were not the only ones on the roads. Eyewitness News caught up with a crew from A&M Towing in Manchester who said they've been out all night long.

A&M Towing employee Jim Brice said he spent the day "just getting the trucks off the highway" and "getting the drivers to a warmer place."

For more information on winterizing your car, click here.

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