AAA offers tips to help you get started

January 6, 2014
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
A crew from Insana Towing in Washington remove a section of guardrail to get access to a PennDOT truck that rolled over an embankment on Route 18 (Park Avenue) near Scenic Drive in North Franklin Township Monday morning. The driver, John B. Puckey III, 50, of Scenery Hill, was injured and taken to Washington Hospital for treatment. North Franklin police said Puckey was driving north, working a control button inside the cab, when the truck hit a guardrail. He then pulled back in the lane, but the truck started to spin, hitting a guardrail and going down the embankment, rolling over once and coming to rest on its wheels. Order a Print
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Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
Bitter cold or not, Jeff Johnson, left, and Mark H. Taylor brave blustery winds and frigid temperatures to collect garbage on Buena Vista Street in the West End of Washington Monday. Order a Print

With continued winter weather advisories and temperatures plunging below zero, AAA urges drivers to make sure their vehicles are in good working order.

But J.J. Miller, safety adviser with AAA East Central, said for many, even those who have done their best to be prepared, the biggest concern this morning will be whether their vehicles will start.

“The cold affects the electrical current in the battery,” Miller said. “When the temperature gets lower, the chemical reaction moves slowly. If it can’t deliver a current, then the battery won’t start.”

The National Weather Service’s forecast for today calls for a high near 4 degrees. Wind chills will put the “feels-like” temperature around minus-32 degrees.

“It is important for you to winterize your vehicle and to check the warranty on your battery,” Miller said. “With these temps, getting the car going will be a big concern.”

Whether you have a garage or not, Miller said it is vital to let the motor run once the vehicle gets started.

“That way the vehicle can warm up. If your vehicle is in a garage, be sure to put the garage door up to prevent carbon monoxide build-up.”

Anyone with concerns should contact their mechanic or dealership. If you don’t have a mechanic, Miller said AAA can help you locate one.

“We want you to have a safe, smooth ride.”

Miller also suggests drivers check their tire pressure, windshield wiper fluid and headlights before they set out. Information about proper fluid levels and tire pressure can be located along the driver’s side door jamb. Drivers also should make sure their vehicles are free of snow and ice.

“This is tremendous weather we are having,” she said. “This is about safety.”

Francesca Sacco joined the Observer-Reporter as a staff writer in November 2013, and covers the Washington County Courthouse and education. Prior to working with the Observer-Reporter, Francesca was a staff writer with a Gannett paper in Ohio. She graduated from Point Park University with a dual bachelor’s degree in print and broadcast journalism.

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