06 May 2011






Joanna Newton, spokesperson, AAA Auto Club South
(813) 289-5859 office, (813) 787-6886 cell, JNewton@AAASouth.com

Phil McCoy, AAA field operations manager in Tennessee, (615) 812-1995 cell

Dave Steward, owner of Honda Haven, Tennessee,
(901) 239-2879 cell


Historically, AAA Emergency Roadside Assistance call volume increases 300 percent during a flood

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (May 6, 2011) — AAA’s call volume for emergency roadside service technicians can more than triple in Memphis as a result of the recent floods. As AAA prepares to respond to an increased call volume in Memphis to keep roadways clear of stranded vehicles, motorists should take simple precautions to avoid a potential emergency situation. AAA’s call volume during the 2010 Nashville floods increased more than 300 percent in the areas hit hardest by heavy rain.

If a vehicle shuts down while in standing water do not try to restart it, instead call a tow truck right away. Restarting a vehicle in standing water can cause more water to enter the engine and could cost thousands of dollars to repair.

If a vehicle is driven through standing water, a driver risks:

  • Flooding the engine
  • Warping brake rotors
  • Loss of power steering
  • Cause a short in the electrical components


“If you don’t know how deep the water is, then don’t drive through it,” said Phil McCoy, AAA field operations manager, Tennessee. “The best plan is to get anything you need now and once the waters start to rise, park your car on the highest ground possible and stay home.”

A majority of the calls AAA receives during a flood, can be avoided if drivers heed the advice from local law enforcement and the state departments of transportation to stay off the roads until driving conditions improve.

“If your car is substantially submerged in water—don’t try to start it,” said Dave Steward, owner of Honda Haven, Memphis. “If water gets into your engine, it can cause considerable damage and you may have to replace your engine.”

It’s critical that motorists know what to expect when they call for emergency roadside service during floods. AAA’s emergency response pickup trucks are designed to handle mechanical adjustments, battery and starting service, flat tires, vehicle lockout services, and can safely drive through no more than one foot of water. AAA’s tow trucks can drive through 18 inches of water in order to extract a vehicle from standing water, but anything deeper than that can risk the safety of the AAA Service Technician and the tow truck. Motorists who are at home or in a safe location will receive service as soon as conditions allow.

“Floods can have devastating impact on some neighborhoods and we can’t get help to people with flooded cars, because so many roads are closed or impassible,” said Ed Schatzman, sr. vice president, Automotive Services, AAA Auto Club South. “Many neighborhoods institute no wake zones and our emergency response vehicles can’t drive into them to help extract cars.”

AAA cannot service vehicles when there is a state of emergency and the Department of Transportation has implemented road closures. At all times, the safety of everyone on the roadways and AAA’s own employees is paramount. Service will return to normal when the Department of Transportation lifts road closures and AAA has been able to respond to all emergency calls from law enforcement.

AAA’s busiest call volume usually occurs on the first day following a major flood when the sun is out and cars are accessible to tow trucks. This is when most motorists call for tow service.

AAA Auto Club South is the third largest affiliate of AAA, serves more than 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, Middle/West Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. Since its founding in 1938, AAA Auto Club South has worked to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.


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