Warmer weather doesn’t mean respite for roadside rescuers

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

Sunday, Jan. 12, through Thursday, Jan. 16, AMA received more than 55,000 calls about everything from dead batteries to snowbound vehicles in need of winching. Overall volume was more than six times the winter norm, while calls about battery issues were triple the usual.

Tow truck operators, dispatchers, call-takers and contractors have been working round the clock since last Sunday 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’ll continue to work 24/7 to get to everyone. For us, the only change warm weather brings is fewer layers of clothing for our operators, who remain focused on ensuring we get to everyone as quickly and safely as possible,” says Brandon Klassen, spokesperson for AMA.

“We’re grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding. If you’re one of the people still in need of assistance, please know we’re doing everything we can to get you moving again.”

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 kit to help ensure your safety in the event of an unexpected breakdown. This should include things like a blanket, warm clothing, caution triangles, a flashlight, gloves, and a folding shovel.
  • Prior to driving, plug in your vehicle for at least four hours when the outdoor temperature is -15°C or below.
  • If you have any doubts about your battery’s health, consider alternate transportation until a test is completed or new battery is installed. This could save you from being stranded outdoors in extreme temperatures.
  • If your vehicle doesn't have a block heater, switching to synthetic oil will help the engine turn over.
  • 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.
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.