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Winter driving tips for when it's really, really cold

The deep freeze enveloping the Buffalo region is making for slippery, ice-covered roads and killing off car batteries left and right this week.

AAA of Western New York and Central New York has been bombarded with calls from drivers whose cars won't start.

"Yesterday we received nearly 2,600 calls, which is more than double we’d receive on an average December day," said Lindsay Kensy, a spokeswoman for the auto club. By 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, AAA had received 270 calls across its territory, she said.

Here are some winter driving tips from AAA:

  • If you notice your battery is slow to turn when you try to start it up, get it checked.
  • Park in a garage if possible, to keep the battery warmer.
  • Drive your car regularly, even if it's just for a bit, so the battery gets some use, unless it’s not safe to drive.
  • Check the tire pressure before driving and fill with air if needed. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees.
  • Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.
  • Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that is formulated to prevent it from freezing.
  • Dress warm and carry extra clothes including an extra hat, gloves, socks and blanket.
  • Make sure your emergency road kid includes a shovel, water, snacks and a car charger.
  • Keep your gas tank full.
  • Let someone else know where you are going and keep in touch.
  • Don’t travel alone unless you have to.


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