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AAA: Increase in Thanksgiving travel, 5 car care tips

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Nov. 16, 2010— AAA projects the number of Americans traveling for Thanksgiving will increase 11.4 percent from 2009.

Approximately 42.2 million travelers will travel at least 50 miles away from home and 94 percent of those by driving, according to a AAA Chicago press release_notes. The number of travelers is up significantly from the last two years. In 2009, there was a 0.2 percent increase from the decline of 25.2 percent in 2008.

With the increase of cars out on the road, AAA recommends doing five car maintenance tasks:

1. Check tire pressure and depth. Don’t forget to check the spare. To check tread depth, place a quarter upside down in the tread groves. If the top of Washington’s head is exposed at any point it’s time for new tires.
2. Check wiper blades and fluid. Make sure the windshield fluid works in the cold weather and that the blades sweep the entire windshield clear with each swipe.
3. Check the battery. The battery should not have any corrosion. AAA members can contact Mobile Battery Service for a battery check and onsite replacement if necessary.
4. Have an emergency road kit. The kit should contain:
• Ice scraper;
• Sand;
• Shovel;
• Gloves, blankets;
• Flashlight;
• Jumper cables;
• Warning flares;
• Drinking water;
• Non-perishable food;
• Extra warm clothes;
• First-aid kit;
• Basic tools;
• Mobile phone with car charger.

5. Have the car serviced. Have a technician do a full vehicle check before going on a road trip.

"While Americans remain cautious with household budgets and discretionary spending amidst high levels of unemployment, many are in a better financial position this Thanksgiving than a year ago," said Brad Roeber, AAA regional president. "This improvement, along with a strong desire to spend time with friends and family, is expected to propel a significant increase in Thanksgiving travel."

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