Tow companies and roadside crews prepare for busy week as temps - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Tow companies and roadside crews prepare for busy week as temps dip below zero

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Madison (WKOW)--Love it or hate it, Winter weather has finally hit Southern Wisconsin. After several weeks of above average temperatures, the mercury on the thermometer has officially dipped below zero in several communities across our area. That can only mean one thing, a busy week for tow truck companies and roadside crews.

"I've been busy. I'm doing about 14 calls each day," M & M Roadside Services Owner Marvin Underwood says.

On a normal day Underwood will respond to half that many calls. He'll also work half as many hours. During the busy season he says there are times where he'll work 18 hours over the course of a day.

"When you're open 24/7 you get called out at all times of the day and night," Underwood explains. "You sleep when you can so you can get out the door and respond to the calls."

When things get too busy for him, Underwood has a part-time employee who helps carry the load. He also has a dispatcher who's working long hours taking calls.

"We see a lot of tire issues, dead batteries and locked in keys," Underwood says. "A lot of people will accidentally lock themselves out while they're warming up their car."

But M & M Roadside Service isn't the only company that will be busy this week. Over at AAA they're expecting near record numbers at their call centers this week.

"We saw record numbers during that "Polar Vortex" we had last year. We might be getting close to that this week if the temps stay this low," AAA Public Affairs Director Nick Jarmusz says.

Car experts say the longer your car sits in the cold weather the more likely you are to run into problems. They suggest running your car at least 20 to 30 minutes a day even if you're not going anywhere.

"Your battery loses about a third of it's power during frigid temperatures like this. If it's not fully charged to begin with it may not have enough power to actually turn over the vehicle and get started," Jarmusz says.

Electric car owners should also be aware of how the cold weather affects your battery's charging ability. Car experts say you can lose up to 60% of your normal range during cold temps like these. That means your car won't be able to go as far with a single charge.

The cold weather isn't only tough on cars, but it's also tough on the workers who have to work outside. Underwood says it's a small price to pay for insuring that everyone gets home safely.

"I'm an angel for you. I'm an angel for everyone," Underwood laughs. "I like taking care of people and helping them out."

   
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Madison (WKOW)-- Love it or hate it, Winter weather has finally hit Southern Wisconsin. After several weeks of above average temperatures, the mercury on the thermometer has officially dipped below zero in several communities across our area. That can only mean one thing, a busy week for tow truck companies.

"We are very busy with calls right now. We expect to get a lot of calls later this week as this cold weather comes in," AAA Wisconsin Director of Public Affairs Nick Jarmusz says.

The biggest issue drivers are dealing with right now are dead batteries. Road assistance companies have been working long hours to keep up with the demand.

Tonight on 27 News at 6:00 p.m. Gordon Severson shares tips and important information as he rides along with a road assistance crew responding to calls.

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