Single-digit temperatures and sub-zero wind chills are keeping crews busy at the AAA of Western and Central New York.
Spokesperson Elizabeth Carey says some 200 calls per hour have been coming in each day this week, mostly from members with dead batteries and needing tows.
"This is why we try to remind people in the fall, get those batteries checked in advance because this is the worst weather on your vehicle right now, extreme temperatures for multiple days in a row," Carey says. "So the calls just keep coming in. We had about 2,600 calls the day after Christmas and about 2,800 the day after that and the volume is about the same today, with about 200 calls coming in."
Carey says motorists should occasionally run their cars, even if they are not planning to travel, in order to keep the battery from losing charge in severe cold.
"That's one of the biggest problems, these cars sitting there in the cold, no one using them for long periods of time in these extreme cold temperatures," she says. "That's what's going to do damage to your battery, so you need to go out and run the vehicle, drive it around and use it a little bit. You know, if you have an elderly neighbor, elderly family member, maybe you can head over there, take their car for a ride."
Carey says tire pressure should also be monitored, as they can decrease significantly in extremely cold weather.
"One of the things that will happen - and it happened to me today - I got out to my car and I said, 'Wow, my tire pressure's really low,'" she says. "So when the weather gets this cold and the temperature dips, you're going to see your tire pressure go down, so you want to make sure that these tires are properly inflated. You can get that proper number right on the inside of the driver-side door, to make sure that the air is inflated to the proper PSI so you're driving safely on the roads."
The AAA reminds motorists that roadside service calls take priority over stuck-at-home requests, for safety's sake.