Motoring organisations

The American automobile association

Motoring organisations

There are many national and regional motoring organisations (automobile clubs), providing emergency breakdown and repair services for motorists. Around a third of the US’s 160 million motorists belong to an automobile or motor club, by far the largest of which is the American Automobile Association.

The AAA is split into regional (usually state) clubs, called chapters, which are listed in telephone books.

Basic AAA membership includes 30 minutes’ free mechanical help at the scene of a breakdown or towing to an AAA approved service station (totalling 26,000), additional labour, parts or towing fees (beyond three miles) must be paid by members.

The AAA provides a wide range of services and a comprehensive information and advisory service for members, including a holiday planning and routing service with free maps. The AAA also operates the largest retail travel agency in the US and offers low-cost air fares and competitively priced cruises.

The AAA provides reciprocal services for members of foreign motoring organisations affiliated to the AAA. The national AAA breakdown service 24-hour telephone number (1-800-AAA-HELP) can be used by members when travelling outside their local club area to obtain emergency road services.

Other AAA services include: guaranteed repairs at AAA approved garages; travel and other insurance; fee-free AAA/Visa credit card; fee-free American Express travellers’ cheques; hotel/motel discounts; discounts on new and used cars; emergency personal cheque cashing when travelling; AAA Bail and Guaranteed Arrest Bond Certificates; and international driving permits.

For further information contact the AAA National Office, 1000 AAA Drive, Heathrow, FL 32746-5063

(1-888-859-5161 or 407-444-7000,  ) or your local AAA chapter. The AAA publishes The Handicapped Driver’s Mobility Guide plus numerous safety leaflets and brochures available free to members from local offices or by post from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1440 New York Avenue NW, Suite 201, Washington, DC 20005 ( ).

The AAA also offers services such as driver education and improvement programmes, and provides driver test and training equipment. Those who are wedded to their RVs might like to join the Good Sam Club, reputedly the world’s largest RV owners’ organisation ( ).

This article is an extract from Living and Working in America. Click here to get a copy now.

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