Towing companies revel in Ottawa's bad winter weather
Business is better than it's been years due to cold, icy weather, say tow truck operators
All the snow, below-normal temperatures, freezing rain and more this winter may be upsetting to Ottawa motorists, but towing companies attribute it to a big spike in business.
Gervais Towing was averaging about 250 calls per day during last week's deep freeze.
Trucks have been responding to a lot of collisions caused by icy conditions, including black ice, but also responding to vehicles that won't start because of too-frigid temperatures.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) call centre has also been experiencing an unusually high number of calls. The company is reporting its busiest winter in a decade.
More than 57,000 calls in Ottawa area since Nov. 1
Staff have received more than 57,000 calls in the Ottawa region since Nov. 1.
"To put that in perspective, last year, which was our busiest year in five years, we saw over 45,000 calls in the same period," said CAA's Alexa Cheater.
CAA brings in extra staff to deal with the demand, but during last week's cold, the wait time for non-emergency calls reached 48 hours.
Cheater said the steady cold, earlier in the season, has led to the rise in calls.
"I think it's that the cold weather came a lot sooner and we've had a lot more of it in long stretches of time," she said. "There have been a lot of days where the wind chill was –30 or below.
"It's definitely been for battery boosting. People's cars just don't want to start in this weather," she added.
"It's been steady and it started early, so that's been good," he said. "The cold spell was steady. It started being cold and it stayed cold for days on end."
Belanger said it's challenging to keep up with so many calls for service.
"We work at them, eventually go down the list and try to get out to everybody as fast as we can," he said. "Obviously it took all day to catch up to everybody that was looking to get help."