In 2017, more than 97 million people traveled 50 miles or further by car to reach their holiday season destination. According to the National Safety Council, more than 700 people on average will die in traffic accidents between December 23 and January third alone.
Some of these accidents occurred because of lack of proper maintenance. Joe Roberts, the fleet supervisor for AAA of Western and Central New York in Syracuse, said accidents caused by lax maintenance make up most roadside assistance calls.
“I’d say between 50 and 75 percent of our calls come from improper care of the car,” Roberts said. “They go to the store, they go to their aunt’s house, their mother’s house and for some reason they have a mechanical failure that could have been avoided completely if their car was properly maintained.”
To prevent these accidents, AAA wants people to start focusing on maintenance. Roberts said there are a few key areas that people should focus on to make their cars safer.
“You’re going to want to have your breaks checked by a certified automotive technician to make sure you’re going to be able to stop when you need to stop,” he said. “Oil change is another big thing make sure you follow your vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations for oil change frequency intervals. Wiper blades, that’s another very big item.”
Another element that Roberts also stressed was tire tread. A simple trick that people can do to check if they that adequate tread on their tires is the penny test.
With the penny test, all someone must do is insert an upside-down penny in the tread of the tire. If you can see the top of Abraham Lincoln’s head it may be time to buy new tires.
AAA believes that people need to act quickly to avoid a rush if they want to make the proper adjustments to their automobiles.
“Avoid the long lines. The first day of snow everyone goes and tries to get winter tires put on,” Roberts said. “You want this done ahead of time. You want to stay ahead of the crowd and make sure you’re going to be safe.”