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Experts offer advice on winter car preparedness for crash or breakdown

(WABI)
Published: Jan. 9, 2020 at 4:43 PM EST
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According to the Maine Department of Transportation, one reportable traffic crash happens every 16 minutes.

Getting in a car accident at any time can be a scary situation, especially during Maine winters.

The American Red Cross and AAA have some tips on what you can keep in your car in case of an emergency.

Lara Clark with the American Red Cross travels a lot and says it's important to be prepared before you leave.

Clark says to make sure your gas tank is always at least half full.

She says, "Make sure to have your cell phone charged in the morning before you leave in case you do have to make that call for help."

Wayne Bouchard of Bouchard Towing says folks have called him who are 60 to 80 miles away, and it can sometimes take hours for them to reach someone.

He says, "If you have to wait for a tow truck for four or five hours, call 9-1-1. Tell them your tow truck is hours away, and you're in the cold and need emergency help."

If you do end up stuck, Clark says the first thing to do after calling for help is to alert passersby.

She says, "Put out an emergency triangle to let people know that you are in need of help. If you don't have one those in your vehicle, just make sure to put something on your antenna preferably like a red bandana. That's a simple thing you can keep in your vehicle."

She recommends keeping extra gloves and hats, blankets, water and snacks in your car as well.

Clark says, "Start your car. Run it for about five minutes once an hour. That kind of keeps the car warm until help arrives but also reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning."

Triple A has on its website a list of emergency items to keep in your vehicle.

The Red Cross also has an emergency app you can download that has helpful resources.

Clark says, "Say first aid measures are something that you need, it was an accident. You can look up first aid measures that you might need to perform."

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