Roadside assistance calls up nearly 200 percent

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) Due to frigid temperatures across the Midwest, calls from AAA members for roadside assistance have increased 195% compared to four weeks ago making it difficult for those in need to get through, according to Rose White of AAA.

White tells WOWT 6 News extra staff is working the call center, but the sheer number of calls still outnumbers available operators to answer assistance calls.

Rose White informed WOWT shortly after 4:00 p.m. that the issue with their call system had been fixed.

“The safety of our members is always AAA’s top priority,” White said in a statement to WOWT 6 News. “Our Contact Centers are experiencing phone system issues, which are affecting all lines of business including Emergency Road Service (ERS). We expect continued delays in roadside assistance today (January 2nd), members in need of immediate assistance may wish to contact a convenient local service provider and submit their bills to AAA for reimbursement. We apologize for the inconvenience as we work to restore full communication and serve members who have experienced delays.”

White said there are other options at getting through to AAA’s Emergency Roadside Assistance Center. She said AAA Roadside Assistance is available to members 24/7 by either calling 800-AAA-HELP or sending a request through Road Service Online or via a smart phone app – AAA Mobile.

Another option for drivers that are experiencing emergency car troubles on the road posted on the Omaha area’s message boards is to dial *55. That will connect stranded drivers with 911 and should only be used in emergency situations.

The vast majority of problems getting a car started in extreme cold lies with the battery. According to AAA, at 32 degrees, a battery is 35 weaker. At zero, a car’s battery loses about 60% of its strength, yet the engine needs about twice as much power to start. A battery’s life can be shortened if devices are plugged into the car’s system such as phone chargers and GPS devices.

And just in case, motorists should always travel with a winter car care kit, which should include warm blankets or thermal sleeping bag, gloves, hat, heavy coat, and heavy socks. Keep in the mind that the toes, fingers, ears and nose need to be protected from frostbite. In an emergency, floor mats can be placed between the layers of clothing to help retain body heat.