As temperatures dipped below zero across much of Maine on Tuesday morning, crews from travel agency AAA, which provides roadside assistance, were stretched thin to deal with an unusually high number of calls for assistance.

Patrick Moody, spokesman for AAA Northern New England, which encompasses Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, said the three states average between 1,500 and 2,000 calls on a normal winter day. On Monday, AAA Northern New England provided service to nearly 4,500 vehicles and Moody said he expected that number to be eclipsed by day’s end Tuesday.

“We’ve been taking 200 calls every half hour,” he said. “Everyone has been pulled in. I’m dispatching right now.”

Moody said AAA hires seasonal staff every winter anyway and most are working this week. The travel agency works with a network of contractors to provide assistance.

“Our contractors are all doing the same thing. Staffing up, making sure their equipment is ready to go,” he said.

On Monday, there were many calls from people who got their vehicles stuck in the remnants of the weekend snowstorm. Most of the calls on Tuesday were what Moody called “cold related” calls, typically jump starts for dead car batteries.

“Batteries last on average about three-to-five years, so if you haven’t had it checked, it’s a good idea,” he said. “Also, people should reduce the amount of load on the battery. So if you can unplug that car charger, you should probably do it.”

Moody also said motorists should keep an eye on their tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have enough tread.

 

Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344

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Twitter: @PPHEricRussell