January 8, 2018 9:22 am

Cold weather gives New Brunswick drivers the chills

WATCH: Another extreme cold warning was in effect Sunday. Staff at CAA and Canadian tire say many people are having issues with vehicles not starting because of the cold. CAA is reminding drivers to be prepared in wintery conditions. Global's Adrienne South reports.


Another extreme cold warning was issued for many parts of New Brunswick on Sunday.

CAA Atlantic says the cold weather is keeping their operators busy.

“It’s been significant actually. We typically don’t see this cold weather until January, February so the past week and a half have been extraordinarily busy. It’s been a bit of a strain of the system,” said spokesperson Gary Howard.

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He added that during or after severe snow storms, there’s usually an increased number of people requiring tow trucks to help them get out of snow banks. The cold weather also wreaks havoc for many.

READ MORE: Extreme cold warning issued for most of New Brunswick

“It’s always batteries and just plain no-starts or lock-outs because of frozen doors or those kind of things. But by far, batteries are where we have the biggest problem,” Howard said.

Howard said drivers should get their batteries tested and make sure they’re in good working condition.  He said people who have problems getting their vehicle started usually end up putting multiple calls in for assistance.

Canadian Tire sales clerk Jerry Gibbons, who works at the Smythe Street location in Fredericton, said car batteries are flying off the shelves.  Sales have been up since Christmas, when winter storms rolled in.

“We had three or four pallets of batteries come in before Christmas but they’re sold out already, certain numbers for popular cars like Honda Civics, that sort of thing,” Gibbons said.

He also said using a battery warmer can help protect them in cold temperatures.

READ MORE: New Brunswick cleaning up after massive storm brings heavy snow, wind

It’s also important for drivers to make sure their car is operating properly. Howard said it’s a good idea to keep gas tanks full to prevent condensation in the tank, and in case drivers get stranded and need to keep warm.

“As well, keep an eye on your tire pressure because it will fluctuate with the temperatures,” Howard added.

Drivers calling CAA should be prepared for longer wait times during cold snaps and storms.  The usual wait time is up to 30 minutes, but with the current weather, people may have to wait for an hour.

Howard said as temperatures warm up and the week goes by, the wait times will decrease.

“The next few days seem to be getting a little bit better,” Howard said. “Mondays are always busy just simply because people may not have even been using their vehicle over the weekend.  I know I haven’t gone anywhere just because it’s so cold, but we’ll see the weather improve.”

The past week it’s been “all-hands-on-deck” when it comes to staff.

WATCH: Extreme cold warning issued for most of New Brunswick

Howard also said people should have an emergency kit in their cars, which should include blankets, toques, a first aid kit, flashlights, cell phone and other items to keep people safe if their vehicle breaks down.

“If you do have a breakdown, try to stay with your vehicle until help arrives,” Howard said.

Drivers should plan ahead and give themselves extra time to drive a bit slower than usual due to icy roads.

“Make sure that you give yourself lots of braking distance between you and other vehicles,” added Howard. “Keep an eye out for other vehicles — it’s not just your driving, it’s everyone else around you, so be safe.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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