* Know before you go. Make sure your vehicle is inspected and maintained by a qualified technician at least annually and before any long-distance trip.
* Stay alert to your location at all times. The ability to accurately describe where your vehicle is, including the name or number of the road and an easily recognized landmark, is one of the keys to speedy rescue and recovery.
* Beware of hazards to yourself and other drivers. Turn on your vehicle's flashing emergency lights and get your vehicle as far off the road as safety permits. Watch out for
oncoming traffic and use flares or reflecting emergency triangles to alert other drivers to the presence of your vehicle.
* Know how to summon help safely. A cellular telephone is a necessity for every motorist. The ability to quickly contact your motor club, law enforcement authorities or emergency medical personnel is critical to staying secure on the roadway.
* Remain calm and keep a clear head. The overwhelming majority of all road service situations are easily handled by professional drivers with the right equipment. AAA's tow truck operators pride themselves on providing quick and reliable member services.
AAA's Highway Heroes for 2002 are: John Tannola, owner of Sunshine Automotive, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Carson Thompson, owner of Bluewater Towing in Sarnia, Ontario; Jeff Critchlow, owner of Jeff Critchlow Auto Body in Glenshaw, Pa.; Harry Baddon and Susan Katsumoto, owners of A & B Towing in Costa Mesa, Calif.; and Kevin Davis, owner of Davis Towing, Hyannis, Mass.
To learn more about what to do in case of an automobile breakdown, visit www.aaa.com.