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AAA: Drivers Stranded on Interstates Are First Priority During Deep Freeze

If you can stay off the roads, do so, says AAA Mid-Atlantic, which is having trouble responding to all the calls for help.

Bundling in multiple layers, and protecting your face, is the only way to prevent frostbite, say doctors. Credit: Screen capture from WBAL TV
Bundling in multiple layers, and protecting your face, is the only way to prevent frostbite, say doctors. Credit: Screen capture from WBAL TV

So many calls for assistance have come into AAA Mid-Atlantic in recent days that the agency is having to prioritize whom to help first.

The arctic temperatures combined with last week’s holidays meant that some drivers didn’t start their cars for several days. And when they tried to this week, they found dead batteries. While those drivers will be helped, the agency says in a news release that drivers stranded on the region’s interstates are the top priority to receive roadside assistance.

Being stuck out in the bone-chilling wind chills can lead to frostbite in just minutes, an emergency room physician told WBAL TV. Frostbite means that ice has formed in your fingers and toes, and can be extremely painful.

Since Friday’s storm and through Monday, AAA Mid-Atlantic has handled over 31,600 service calls throughout their region, a 45 percent increase compared to the same time last year. Nearly 8,000 of those calls were from stranded Maryland motorists. 

“While AAA has called in additional resources to assist handle the volume, we will still have to prioritize calls based on the severity of the motorist’s breakdown location,” said Ragina Cooper-Averella, public and government affairs manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“Those stranded on the shoulder of an interstate will take priority. We are asking members to please remain patient while awaiting service and to make sure their vehicle is equipped with an emergency road kit.”

Drivers who are not planning to use their vehicle for several days should still start it and let it run it for a few minutes to avoid problems, Cooper-Averella said. If you’re going out, AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests giving yourself extra travel time; driving easily during the first few miles to warm up your car gently; and dressing warmly. 

 

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