AAA and local towing company offer safe driving tips ahead of winter season

REDMOND, Wash. -- AAA is offering some winter driving tips to help people prepare for Thanksgiving travels.

AAA suggested all drivers keep a winter driver kit in their car. The kit would include a cellphone with a charger and emergency contacts. Road flares, jumper cables and flashlights with extra batteries should also be added to the kit.

Drivers should keep an ice scraper, shovel and chains in their car, especially when going across the passes. They also suggest having blankets and warm clothes like hats and gloves in the kit.

Geoffrey Chandler, a manager at MAC Towing in Redmond, says dead car batteries are the biggest issue they get calls about every winter.

“The cold weather will find a battery that’s weak and it will just drain it,” said Chandler.

He said 2019’s winter storm was a frigid awakening for everyone on the roads.

“They called it 'snowmageddon' and it was brutal. There was a lot of snow on the ground. We actually struggled ourselves. We had a few trucks that got stuck and we had to go rescue,” said Chandler.

As MAC Towing prepares for the next winter season, Chandler predicts some drivers wouldn’t learn from past mistakes on the slick roads.

“When the freeze comes, we’ll get a lot more spin outs and that’s just because people are unprepared for the road conditions. And it’s a good idea before you head out to just walk your streets and see if they’re icy or not,” said Chandler.

As more people prepare to hit the road for the holidays, Chandler suggests people use their time off ahead of their travels to learn how to put on and take off tire chains.

“So, now when you’re in the heat of battle, you’re not struggling and you find out they don’t fit or you don’t have the proper tools,” said Chandler.

Chandler also encourages people traveling for the holidays to stop by an auto shop for a winter weather checkup. He said a mechanic can check to make sure the battery is fully charged, and the alternator is in good shape. The mechanic can also check the tread of the tires and air pressure to help prevent drivers from slipping on slick roads.