Transportation
1:09 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

AAA Sees Spike in Calls During Deep Freeze

AAA East Central, which serves Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and New York, said they have already fielded nearly three times as many requests for assistance as they would on a typical winter day.

Bevi Powell, senior vice president for AAA East Central, said between midnight and 9 a.m. on Tuesday, the motor club federation has already serviced 1,650 requests for roadside assistance, and that most of those calls have been due to dead batteries.

“This cold weather requires a lot of energy to start the vehicle,” Powell said. “You want to make sure your battery is in good condition. Make sure that it if it is out of warranty … you have it tested to make sure that it’s good.”

Powell said the cold weather can also affect tire pressure, so motorists should check to make sure their tires are properly inflated.

Even if you are not driving on Tuesday, when the coldest temperatures are expected to hit the Pittsburgh region, Powell said it’s important to take precautions so you can be sure your car will start up again tomorrow morning.

One of the most important things you can do, according to Powell, is simply to start your car up and let it run for a short period of time.

“They don’t want to leave that until tomorrow,” Powell said. “They want to start it and make sure that the engine turns over and there isn’t a problem getting that car started.”

Powell also recommended checking all your doors and locks to make sure they’re opening properly, and scraping ice off the windshield and windows as it accumulates, rather than waiting until you are about to get in the car to go somewhere.

Powell says, after battery assistance and tows, the next greatest number of calls to AAA have been for lockouts.

“People will start their vehicle to warm them up, and their keys get locked into the car,” Powell said. “So it’s very important that if you are starting your car and warming it up, that you remember not to lock your keys in the car.”