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Emergency Road Service Calls Doubled In Last Weekend's Winter Weather, Says AAA Michigan

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Dec. 20, 2004 -- A frigid blast of Arctic air has caused AAA emergency road service call volumes to double, AAA Michigan reported today. From Friday, December 17 through 3 p.m. today (December 20), the Auto Club reports handling 12,770 requests for assistance -- an average of 3,192 per day.

During normal weather conditions, the Auto Club assists approximately 1,500 motorists statewide during its 24-hour workday. Common cold-weather issues include dead batteries, frozen fuel lines and lockouts.

To help motorists avoid unnecessary delays and travel safely, AAA Michigan offers the following cold weather car care tips:

* Park your car in the garage. If you have no garage put a tarp over the car or put a plastic trash bag between the door (or window glass) and the frame.

* Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid fuel-line freeze-up.

* To avoid frozen doors or door locks, buy a lubricant that is available in most auto supply stores.

* Heat your key (a pocket lighter works nicely), but remember to wear gloves or hold the key with pliers.

* Fill a plastic jug or bag with hot water. Hold it against the door panel or lock area. But don't throw hot water on the car. It, too, will freeze.

* If you become snowbound, stay with your vehicle. It provides excellent temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Don't try to walk long distances in severe cold weather. Keep emergency supplies in the car -- boots, hats, gloves, blankets, cell phone, flashlight, reflective triangle -- to keep safe and warm in the event of engine failure.