With this week's extremely cold weather, requests for vehicle tows and boosts were through the roof.  On Tuesday (Dec. 20) morning, the Alberta Motor Association (AMA) reported seven times the normal volume of service requests for tows and winches since the cold weather hit.

"The biggest things right now are holiday travel and cold weather," Brandon Klassen, supervisor of roadside assistance with AMA. "The cold always gives people issues when it comes to batteries."

Requests for light service, such as boosts and unlocks, have also risen to more than four times above normal.

"Batteries in Alberta typically last about three to five years, so if you're in that range it's probably a good idea to get your vehicle into a mechanic."

Klassen says that this isn't out of the ordinary for this time of year, so wait times aren't affected too much.

"Seven times our normal volume is not as normal, but we were prepping a few days ago when we started to see those forecasts. We called in every service provider as well as every co-operator," Klassen said. "Even from our inside staff, our call center, and our dispatch crew, we've called in extra staff to help us get tow trucks to our members."

With the warmer weather on the way, the need for AMA assistance may go down but Klassen suggests people pack emergency kits, which could include extra toques, gloves, blankets, cell phone chargers, and hand warmers at all times, "Always prepare for the journey, not only the destination."

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