51k calls for Roadside Assistance in 5 days

Warmer temperatures may be on the horizon, but they won’t mean a slowdown for the hardworking roadside rescue crews across Alberta.

Sunday, Feb. 7, through Thursday, Feb. 11, AMA received more than 51,000 calls about everything from dead batteries to snowbound vehicles in need of winching. At the peak, overall volume was as much as eight times the norm, with 600 calls to Roadside Assistance every 30 minutes.

Tow truck operators, dispatchers, call-takers and contractors have been working round the clock all week to help as many people as possible, as efficiently as possible. But the sheer volume of requests means it’ll take some time before it’s business as usual.

“We’re working at full capacity to ease the backlog and get everyone’s vehicles going,” says Brandon Klassen, spokesperson for AMA. “We’re grateful for people’s understanding, and all the community support for our operators, who’ve worked through some pretty punishing temperatures this week.”

Notably, extreme cold isn’t just a danger to roadside crews; it’s a threat to batteries as well. A frozen battery has an increased risk of exploding, which is why AMA strongly recommends caution when it comes to do-it-yourself boosts. In fact, if we assess a battery as being too risky to boost, we'll tow the vehicle instead. 

Other Tips for Staying Safe

  • Ensure tires are properly inflated, as most tires lose one pound per square inch for every 5°C drop in temperature.
  • Always carry an emergency roadside kit. This should include things like a blanket, warm clothing, caution triangles, a flashlight, gloves, a folding shovel, hand sanitizer and a mask.
  • Prior to driving, plug in your vehicle for at least four hours when the outdoor temperature is -15°C or below. (If you can’t plug in, use synthetic oil and ensure the health of your battery.)
  • Ensure your gas tank is at least half full and consider using gas-line antifreeze.
  • While driving, scan the road ahead and maintain a safe following distance that allows for adjustments. When the roads are icy or snowy, this means four to six seconds.
  • Avoid unnecessary trips during extreme weather. This can helps reduce the risk of collisions or breakdowns.
About AMA

The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 975,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.