* A common cause of cold-weather breakdowns is a weak or dead battery. Indications of a battery that may need replacement include a starter motor that cranks the engine slowly and headlights that dim when the engine speed drops to idle.
* If you are unsure about any aspect of your car's mechanical condition, a local AAA Approved Auto Repair facility will be happy to help you.
Before you head out on the road, remember the following:
* Check the weather conditions along your route before driving long distances.
* For safety, carry a cellular phone to call for help in an emergency.
* Pack a winter safety kit in your vehicle that includes: a window scraper or brush, a flashlight with fresh batteries, a small snow shovel, traction mats, booster cables, a warm blanket, flares or reflective warning triangles, heavy gloves, window-washer solvent and a first-aid kit.
Finally, once on your way, practice these safe driving tips:
* When driving in slippery conditions, slow down, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and allow extra time for all actions.
* Use gentle pressure on both the accelerator and brake pedals to prevent wheel lockup and skids.
* Stop effectively on ice and snow by applying your brakes well in advance of the stopping point.
* Always fasten your seatbelt, and make certain your passengers are properly restrained as well.
* When driving in rain, fog or falling snow, reduce your speed, use low-beam headlights or fog lights and increase the distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
For more about vehicle care, driving safety and other automotive topics, visit www.AAA.com.