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Roadside wisdom to stay safe


September 17, 2020

A study done by AAA Montana’s emergency roadside assistance and AAA Auto Repair Centers, have found that battery issues have become one of the most common problems plaguing drivers across the state. According to a news release in tracking Montana’s latest car trouble trends in May and June 2020; AAA Montana saw a 24% increase in roadside assistance calls for battery service, compared to the same time in 2019.

“AAA Auto Repair Centers have also seen battery services increase 23% since stay-at-home orders were enacted,” the press release stated. While battery problems have been on the rise, AAA Montana notes, all other calls for services including fuel, vehicle lockouts and tows declined compared to last year.

“Many vehicles have sat idle in driveways and garages since directives to stay at home were enacted,” said Aldo Vazquez, spokesperson for AAA Montana. “As drivers get behind the wheel, we’re seeing the impact of that idling.” The impact of the Coronavirus has also caused drivers to go without routine vehicle maintenance. According to the study, data reveals a 17% decrease in vehicle maintenance services since March.

Vehicles typically associated with work, like trucks and SUVs, AAA Montana says, have been especially impacted by the stop-and-go of the economy. AAA Auto Repair facilities have seen repair services for these types of vehicles dramatically rise. “Vehicles of all ages are susceptibly to roadside trouble,” Vazquez said. “Minimize your risk by being prepared and having a roadside assistance provider.”

To keep motorists moving, AAA Montana is sharing five pieces of roadside wisdom that can help drivers stay safe on the road: 

Drive your vehicle at least once a week for at least 30 minutes. This will help keep your battery charged. Take a longer route that you normally would when running errands to let your vehicle run more.

If you’ve postponed routine maintenance, make sure to have your vehicle inspected at a AAA Auto Repair Center or a trusted mechanic.

Check your tire pressure. Tires should be checked when your vehicle has not been driven recently. Low tire pressure can lead to blow outs, can affect handling and braking of a vehicle.

Check your fluids. Fluids not only lubricate but serve as coolants for your vehicle. Your engine, brakes, transmission, radiator, and power steering all need to have optimal fluid levels to function properly. Proper fluid levels are essential for keeping your vehicle running smoothly.

Have a breakdown plan. If faced with a vehicle emergency, safely steer your car off the roadway. Turn on the emergency flashers to alert other drivers. Once in a safe location, request assistance from a roadside service provider. Under most circumstances, it is safest to remain buckled in your vehicle until help arrives.


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