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Three Emergency Complaints Regarding Automobiles During The Polar Vortex, And What You Can Expect For Wait Times

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As the polar vortex shifts out of the Midwest and heads for the East Coast, Midwesterners are still reeling from its effects. Most notably, auto repair and towing shops are swamped. Three types of emergency calls came in to towing companies during this three-day stint, and customers are left wondering when they will get their vehicles back. If you were one of the unlucky ones to experience an automotive problem, you probably experienced one of the following. Wait times and roadside assistance services are included. 

Slid off the Road into a Ditch or Car Accident

​No matter how you slice it, being in a car accident in extremely dangerous temps puts your life at risk. States like Wisconsin and Minnesota put towing bans on tow companies during the extreme cold, which really only made things worse because then there was absolutely no one to help people with their vehicles after an accident. The only sunny spot was that if your vehicle was in bad enough shape and on the road in the midst of traffic, and you called the police, they made sure your vehicle got immediate attention.

If your vehicle was in a ditch, and out of the way of traffic, the officers made sure you were safe, but your vehicle has to remain where it is until the towing ban is lifted and towing companies can return to work. For an accident on the road, you were first priority and could expect help in towing your vehicle to a repair shop within an hour or so. If you were in ditch, you are probably still waiting for a tow truck to get your vehicle. It may be up to one more week yet before you get your car back, if it is repairable. 

Batteries That Would Not Start/Needed a Jump

​If your vehicle was in a safe place, towing companies were instructed to leave you there. All towing companies were told to prioritize the most dangerous cases first, and a dead battery in a vehicle that was parked somewhere safe was not considered an emergency. As the weather began to warm up, towing companies are now able to stop and give your vehicle a jump, but you can still expect an abnormal wait time of several hours to a full day after service is scheduled. 

Flat Tires

​In the cold, towing companies and roadside assistance calls were told not to stop to change flat tires because of the danger of frostbite. Additionally, if you were in a "safe place," your vehicle would be left as is until the towing bans were lifted and fewer emergency situations required towing companies to focus on pulling cars out of ditches and away from accident scenes. The only exception is being located somewhere where you cannot get to shelter and/or you have children in the car with you. Then towing companies were allowed to tow your vehicle to a shop where it would sit until the drivers could change the tire for you. Expect a one- to two-day wait, as repair shops are equally as far behind with multiple car repairs. 

Contact a shop, like Benchmark Motors INC, for more help with caring for your car in winter.