In light of recent storms that have stranded many drivers for hours, The Auto Club Group is recommending that motorists learn how to extend their cell phone's battery life so they can prolong the phone’s operability without using their car battery for recharging.

In a 2013 AAA survey of consumers in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, only 46 percent of participants indicated they have ever turned off features on their cell phone to conserve battery power during a power outage. 

“It is important to have a charged cell phone during an emergency in case you become stranded on the roadside and need to call for help,” said Gerry Gutowski, senior vice president of automotive services for The Auto Club Group. “People should be sure they have a properly charged car battery before a winter storm if they are relying on their car battery to do more than start their car.”

AAA’s volume of dead-battery calls typically spikes during a major weather event. Many drivers leave their lights on or use their car batteries to charge their cell phones or other electronics, AAA said.

Drivers often get an early warning when their car battery is about to die. The car may start slower than usual. Interior lights may start to dim or flicker, and after-market equipment may not function properly. This is the time to test the battery to see if it needs to be charged or replaced to prevent being stranded. Motorists will know if the battery has failed because the car will make a series of rapid clicks and will not start.

Here are some tips, provided by AAA, on how to prolong the life of a cell phone battery in an emergency. You may want to pass these along to your fleet drivers.

  • Turn the phone off. Only turn it on when you are expecting or making a call.
  • If you’re in an area with no reception, turn off the phone to prevent it from constantly searching for service. Even with automatic power-save features, this function can take up to 30 minutes and it is depleting your battery.
  • Limit use of the vibrate function on your phone. Use a ring tone since it uses less of the battery’s power.
  • Don’t use extra features such as the Internet, WIFI, GPS, a camera and a hands-free device. Additionally, limit use of the back light or turn it off to prolong the battery.

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates serve approximately 8.8 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories, including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, most of Illinois, Minnesota and a portion of Indiana. 

Here are a few videos providing more tips to prolong battery life while keeping the phone on.

For iPhone iOS 7:

For iPhone iOS 6:

For Galaxy Note 3

For Galaxy S4:

For Windows Phone 8: