May 20, 2024

AAA Will Rescue More Than 378,000 Stranded Drivers During Memorial Day Weekend

Posted May 20, 2024 7:00 PM

OMAHA, NE (May 20, 2024) – Nebraskans and Iowans are forecast to travel in near record numbers for Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA’s 2024 Memorial Day Travel Forecast, nearly 3.1 travelers from the West North Central Region ((WNC): IA, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, SD) will journey 50 miles or more.

Unfortunately, many of them will experience car trouble. Nationwide, AAA expects to rescue more than 378,000 stranded motorists, during the holiday weekend – an increase of 5% from last year. The three most common reasons drivers call AAA are for flat tires, dead batteries, and lockouts.

“As you finalize your travel plans for the holiday weekend, make sure your vehicle is ready for the road,” said, Brian Ortner, Public Affairs Specialist for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We encourage all drivers to get a pre-trip inspection of their tires, battery, brakes, and other basics. This could help prevent a breakdown before it happens.”

AAA Tips to Prevent Car Problems

  1. Check your tires – Pay special attention to both tire inflation pressure and tread depth. Be sure to inspect all four tires and the spare tire if your vehicle has one.
  2. Listen to and feel the brakes – If you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying the brakes, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop for a brake inspection. 
  3. Check your battery – The average car battery life is typically 3-5 years. If your engine is slow to start and/or your lights are dim, your battery may be nearing the end of its life. Drivers can ask for a battery check at a AAA Car Care Center or Approved Auto Repair Facility. AAA can also come to a member’s location to test and, if needed, replace the battery on site.
  4. Replace wiper blades and replenish windshield cleaner – Rubber wiper blades naturally deteriorate over time. Most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 6-12 months. If wipers streak or fail to clear the windshield thoroughly, replace the blades.
  5. Top off engine oil and other fluids – Check that engine oil, coolant and brake, transmission and power steering fluids are at the correct levels for safe vehicle operation. When adding fluids, use products that meet the specifications listed in the owner’s manual.
  6. Replenish emergency kit supplies – AAA recommends keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. Include a flashlight and extra fresh batteries, first-aid supplies, drinking water, non-perishable snacks for people and pets, car battery booster cables, emergency flares or reflectors, a rain poncho, a basic tool kit, duct tape, gloves and shop rags or paper towels.

AAA Tips for Drivers who Experience Car Trouble

  1. Get to the nearest exit or stopping point if you are safely able to do so.
  2. Pull as far over on the shoulder as safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
  3. Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware you are there.
  4. Call for assistance via phone, website or the AAA Mobile app.
  5. Remain with your vehicle as long as it’s safe to do so.
  6. If you exit your vehicle, watch the oncoming traffic for a good time to exit. Quickly move to a safe location. Avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.

AAA Resources for Your Road Trip

  1. Find an AAA Approved Auto Repair Facilities near you.
  2. Use AAA’s Repair Cost Estimator to determine estimated repair costs, including parts, labor and a AAA member discount.
  3. Use AAA’s Gas Cost Calculator to determine the estimated fuel costs for your trip.

Safe Driving Tips

Preparing your vehicle is one thing. It’s also important that drivers are personally ready to focus on the road. AAA provides the following safe driving habits, as a reminder for drivers:

  1. Watch your speed – For more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. Be sure to drive the speed limit and lower your speed if conditions warrant.
  2. Watch the road – Distracted drivers kill thousands of people every year. Taking eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles the risk of a crash. Potential distractions include cell phone use, eating, drinking, or interacting with other passengers. Focusing on the road enables drivers to spot and avoid potential hazards that could otherwise lead to a crash.
  3. Rest up – Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. AAA recommends drivers get plenty of rest before a big road trip. During a drive, take breaks every 100 miles or two hours. Motorists should pull over if they find themselves getting tired.
  4. Drive Sober – Drugs and alcohol negatively impact the important brain functions needed for driving safely: judgement, motor skills, memory, and reaction time. AAA urges everyone to avoid driving after ingesting any substance that could impair their ability to drive.

Move Over for Roadside Workers and Stranded Motorists:

Fatal roadside crashes are a growing problem nationwide. Every year, nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle. Additionally, on average, one tow operator is killed at the roadside every other week. These deaths can be avoided if drivers follow the law and move over.

“AAA’s roadside technicians will put their lives on the line to rescue the hundreds of thousands of drivers on the roadside with car trouble,” continued Ortner. “We urge drivers to stay focused on the road and its shoulders. Whether it’s a first responder, tow truck or disabled vehicle, if you see flashing lights, move over so everyone can make it home safely for the holiday.”