‘Paying it forward’: Roadside assistance in Saskatchewan during cold snap

Click to play video: '‘Paying it forward’: Roadside assistance in Saskatchewan during cold snap'
‘Paying it forward’: Roadside assistance in Saskatchewan during cold snap
The '306 Recovery Group' is built on paying it forward and are some of the best people to call for automotive help in the winter – Jan 17, 2024

With frigid weather conditions across the Prairies, many motorists have been dealing with vehicle issues. Places such as CAA Saskatchewan have received outstanding number of requests for services such as battery boosts and tows.

From Jan. 11, 2024 and on, CAA Saskatchewan said they have experienced a significant increase from members for roadside assistance requests.

“Since last Thursday, when the extreme cold weather came upon us, we’ve had roughly 4000 calls for CAA’s roadside assistance, and those calls primarily have been from boosts and tows,” said Christine Niemczyk, CAA Saskatchewan director of communications.

“What we have noticed as well with this cold weather is I think it took everybody by surprise, and it was just a really good reminder for everyone to really maintain their vehicles.”

Click to play video: 'CAA Saskatchewan talks cold weather driving preparations'
CAA Saskatchewan talks cold weather driving preparations

CAA Saskatchewan encourages drivers to ensure their vehicles are winter ready from having winter tires, checking batteries and block heaters, plugging vehicles in, and ensuring plug-ins are not frayed.

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One of the challenges that CAA Saskatchewan has noticed recently is the inability to provide callers with an estimated time of arrival (ETA) due to the overwhelming amount of calls during the cold snap. Wait times range from anywhere from a couple hours to a day.

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“We will get to every member’s request as soon as possible, but our request to members is to only call us or contact us once per call,” said Niemczyk.

“Some members are using each of those three ways or method to contact us and leaving messages. And what that does is it congest the phone system, the operating system that we have and takes more time to go through each call.”

Motorists are also provided with another option of reaching out to folks on a group that is solely volunteer-based.

Stuart Hall of Regina created a Facebook page called “306 Recovery Group” for Saskatchewanians to use as a pay-it-forward for automotive help. With over 17,000 members in the group, many people go out of their way to help someone in need.

“Whether you need help changing your spare tire on if you need a boost, somebody hopefully close by to you will come out, lend you a hand,” said Hall. “It’s essentially to give people that may not be in a situation where they could afford a tow or in cold snaps like we’ve had.”

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Creating this pay-it-forward group stems from Hall’s upbringing as he remembers people around him doing good deeds for others.

“I grew up in small town Saskatchewan where if you needed milk, you asked a neighbour, and they didn’t charge you for it. It was paying it forward,” he said.

“In today’s times, with everything going on, you don’t know what kind of financial situation you’re in. You don’t know what kind of outside factors someone else is having in their life that’s affecting it.”

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