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Tow Drivers Frantically Fight the Freeze

Updated: 01/08/2014 9:43 PM
Created: 01/08/2014 6:40 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

With sub-zero winds whipping, silence is the last thing Northland drivers want to hear when they turn the key. Still, many cars were frozen solid by the deep freeze backing tow trucks up for hours.

Tom Nicholl drives a tow truck for Dave's Towing in Duluth, and even though he'd been juggling cold chains for days he was optimistic about the polar vortex releasing its grip.

“It's kind of weird that 8 degrees below zero is actually warm compared to the last few cold days,” Nicholl said.

Still, the towing company was getting up to 300 calls a day as Northland drivers cursed their batteries, and even a fleet of service vehicles couldn't keep up with the demand.

“Yesterday I heard seven or eight hours was realistic to wait for a jump,” Nicholl said.

Drivers like Kim McIntyre called for a tow, but she said the deep freeze has AAA backed up too.

“Yesterday the car wouldn't start so I put a call in to AAA. I was on hold for 65 minutes before my call was routed. Dave's Towing came out and started my car. I ran it, and it was great. This morning it wouldn't start again,” McIntyre said.

The tow drivers carry small jump boxes that can spark your car, but often vehicles need to be towed in for a battery replacement. Nicholl said the problem is repair shops are full too.

"It's hard to find a spot to put a car. You walk inside the shops and their packed up in there also,” Nicholl said.

Some vehicles were breaking down along the highway too. Nicholl said every driver should be prepared to wait out in the cold.

“If you're going to travel I would definitely recommend bringing a blanket and everyone talks about an emergency kit, but we see it first hand. A matter of 10 or 15 minutes is huge, and people don't always get to you right away all the time,” Nicholl said.

The cold clinging to the Northland might let up soon, but for now your rescue might be a few hours late.

Dave's Towing charges $40-$50 to come out and give you a jump. If a tow is needed the price bumps up to $70 or more depending on where you need to go.

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