AAA: Now is the time to winterize your vehicle


AAA Urges Motorists to Prep Vehicles Before Winter Storm; Provides Tips for Driving on Wet Roads

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rain, snow, and ice can create dangerous driving conditions for motorists. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 21 percent of all vehicle crashes are weather related. On average, nearly 5,000 people are killed and over 418,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes in the U.S. each year.

“The best time to prep your vehicle for inclement weather is before it hits,” said Stephanie Milani, TN Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Weather during this time of year not only impacts road conditions, but it can also have an adverse effect on your vehicle. It’s imperative for drivers to plan ahead to ensure safe travels in inclement weather.”

Before You Go

Before you hit the road, check local traffic and weather conditions in your area. Tennessee motorists can dial 511 on their cell phones for current traffic and road conditions. AAA members can now track weather events for free by signing up for WeatherFX Alerts. Learn more at A properly maintained vehicle and a bit of preparation can help prevent roadside emergencies –  and, it’s as simple as remembering BTWBattery, Tires, Windshield:


At 32 degrees (freezing) the battery is 35% weaker than in higher temperatures.

  • If your battery is older than 3-5 years, have your car’s battery and charging system tested to ensure they are fully charged and in good condition.


Your tires are the only part of the car that has direct contact with the road, so it is important they are in good shape.

  • To test tread depth, insert a quarter into a tread groove with the top of Washington’s head facing down. If the top of his head is not visible, your tires have at least 4/32” of tread and are fine for continued use. If you can see above the top of Washington’s head, it is time to start shopping for new tires. Take measurements in three locations across the tire’s tread: (1) outer edge, (2) center, and (3) inside edge.


With many motorists parking outside and waking up to frost on the vehicle, the defroster, wipers and wiper fluid need to be in good working condition.

  • Completely clear your vehicle of snow and ice prior to driving, including all lights and windows for visibility.
  • Check the fluid levels of your vehicle, particularly washer fluid and anti-freeze, to ensure they are at adequate levels.


Winter Emergency Car Kit

AAA recommends keeping helpful items in your vehicle’s “emergency kit” for winter driving. These items include:

  • Blankets or extra warm, winter clothing such as coats and hats
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Drinking water
  • Extra medication
  • Ice scraper
  • Abrasive material such as sand or cat litter to help regain traction in slick situation


On The Road

AAA offers some tips for driving on wet and snow-covered roads.


  • Slow down and adjust your speed to the road conditions. Leave yourself ample room to stop. Accelerate, turn and brake as gradually and smoothly as you can.
  • Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses. Black ice typically forms first in shaded areas of the roadway and on bridges and overpasses that freeze first and melt last. Although the road leading up to a bridge may be fine, the bridge itself could be a sheet of ice.
  • Buckle up. Ensuring that everyone in your vehicle is properly restrained is the single most effective thing motorists can do to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the roads.
  • React quickly. Watch the traffic ahead and slow down immediately at the sight of brake lights, skidding cars or emergency flashers. 


  • Don’t Tailgate. Normal following distances of three to four seconds on dry pavement should be extended to a minimum of eight to ten seconds when driving on slippery surfaces. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Don’t use cruise control on slippery roads. If your vehicle hydroplanes or skids, you will lose the ability to regain some traction simply by lifting off the accelerator. It will be harder to recover from the loss of traction if cruise control is active.
  • Don’t slam on the brakes. If your car begins to skid, continue to look and steer in the direction you want the car to go. Slamming on the brakes will only make your vehicle harder to control.
  • Don’t let your gas tank get below a quarter of a tank. This will provide you with a gas reserve should you become stranded in inclement weather.