AAA recommends the following tips to help keep drivers cheery and bright this holiday season:
• Start and clean-off vehicles. Switch which vehicle is used for holiday errands or start cars briefly in driveways to help keep things running smoothly during days off work. AAA often sees a spike in calls for battery replacements and jump starts once drivers return to school or work after leaving vehicles unattended in driveways during cold weather.
• Stick to regular scheduled maintenance. Standard oil changes and manufacturer-recommended maintenance help avoid and identify potential problems down the road.
• Check tire pressure and tire tread, including the spare tire. Proper tire pressure and tread help provide traction, prolong the life of tires and avoid dangerous blow-outs while on the road.
• Check fluid levels. Checking and refilling engine oil, radiator coolant and windshield washer fluid to the appropriate levels are easy, inexpensive and may head off costly repair work.
• Inspect the vehicle’s battery. Dimming headlights, clicking noises or corrosion around battery terminals signal that it may be time to replace a battery. A certified mechanic can test and replace batteries if needed.
• Keep an eye on the little things. Windshield wipers, headlights and turn signals help drivers see and be seen during inclement weather and dark winter nights.
• Be prepared in case of an emergency. Carry emergency supplies, such as a car care kit with jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, flashlight, hazard signs, blanket, boots, snacks, water and a charged cell phone.
Just in time for the holidays, the Kansas Department of Transportation has made it easier than ever for travelers to get the latest information about their route to work, school or holiday gatherings.
Travelers may now subscribe to free text or e-mail message alerts about current conditions on the routes they travel. Subscribers to My Kansas 511 select the route, the time of the day and the type of information they want, such as road closures or National Weather Service warnings. To subscribe, visitkandrive.org, KDOT’s traveler information portal, and select “Plan Your Drive” or “Get More Travel Info.”
“My Kansas 511” is just one of a number of new content options and features now available through the Kansas 511 phone system.
New Content includes:
• Kansas City Traffic info – includes road condition, construction, incident/event and speed/congestion info for the greater metro area, including Kansas and Missouri
• National Weather Service Warnings (tornado; severe thunderstorm; flash flooding; blizzard; winter storm and ice storm)
• Rest Area locations/information
• Silver Alerts (in addition to AMBER Alerts)
Other New Features include:
• System Menu – new features and design
• Call Transfers – provides the ability to access information across the state for the following info from 511: 1) transit info in Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka, Salina and North Central Rural; 2) Tourism; 3) Central Permitting Office for commercial vehicles; and 4) Motorist Assist in Kansas City, Kan.; Topeka, Wichita, Salina, Southwest Kansas, Southeast Kansas, Northwest Kansas and the Kansas Turnpike Authority)
• City or town segment location assistance – allows the caller to select a city/town and the system automatically provides the route segment where the city/town is located.
• Emergency messages – may now be interruptible (not interruptible in the past) and allows repeat callers to bypass the message.
A single call to 5-1-1 from any phone anytime, from anywhere in Kansas or
1-866-511-KDOT (5368) from anywhere in the U.S. will get you all of the information one needs to plan trips – or provide updates as they travel. Information includes route-specific road conditions, work zone information, including detours and closed roads, and travel-related weather information.
KDOT also encourages travelers to use other free traveler information services to assist them with trip planning or in staying informed as they travel:
• KanDrive, www.kandrive.org, KDOT’s traveler information gateway for Kansas, provides essential information you need to plan your trip. KanDrive features include camera images, motion camera and electronic sign message views, an interactive 511 map of Kansas roads, road conditions and work zones and links to Metro Traffic Management Center websites (Kansas City (kcscout.org) and Wichita (wichway.org) and other helpful transportation resources, such as Kansas Turnpike information, Kansas Byways, weather information and links to travel info in other states. RSS feeds and GeoRSS feeds to the 511 map (511.ksdot.org) are also available.
• The 511 Mobile site at 511mm.ksdot.org provides map, camera and electronic message sign views, road conditions, work zone and event information and links to weather. The site is accessible from multiple devices, including iPhones, Droids and Windows mobile devices, Version 6.0 and higher. Any devices not compatible with the new application will be able to access text information only for road conditions and work zones.
KDOT also reminds travelers to be prepared for driving this winter. Knowledge and preparation are essential to minimizing winter weather driving hazards.
Drivers should use basic safe driving habits at any time of the year – buckling up and safely securing children in safety seats, driving alert and sober, operating your vehicle at a safe and legal speed, and avoiding driver distractions such as talking or texting on your cell phone.