It’s been a busy week for the Alberta Motors Association (AMA).
The roadside assistance company has had its hands full thanks to the extreme cold that has been plaguing the province, reporting over 31,000 calls in just two days.
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“We’re seeing record numbers of roadside requests, and have called in additional staff – dispatchers, call centre workers, service vehicle operators and contractors – to rescue as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Ryan Lemont, Manager of Fleet Operations for AMA, in a release.
“But due to the sheer volume, and these dangerously cold temperatures, we urge drivers to put their safety first and seek shelter rather than waiting with their vehicles.”
The release states that Sunday saw 11,135 service requests, while Monday saw 20,029, breaking AMA’s records for the highest number of requests for a Sunday and Monday.
In 2017, the same Sunday and Monday saw only 2,879 and 3,448 calls to AMA.
“The safety of our members is our absolute priority,” said Lemont in the release.
“We’re prioritizing calls to ensure people in emergency situations receive help as quickly as possible and thank Albertans for their understanding as we work around the clock to reach those in need.”
Temperatures around the province have been reaching as low as -40°C and -50°C with wind chills this week, and extreme cold warnings from Environment Canada are covering the majority of Alberta.
While the company will be able to provide you with a boost or arrange a tow for your vehicle, it will not be providing battery testing or battery replacements during extreme weather — both to protect engine components that become brittle in the extreme cold and their own operators’ well-being.
AMA advises any Albertans with a dead battery to plug in their vehicles before driving on days of -15°C or lower, potentially switching to synthetic oil if your vehicle doesn’t have a block heater, keep your gas tank at least half full, limit your road travel, and, in the case that your vehicle does break down, try to find a warm place to shelter rather than waiting in or by your vehicle.