AAA Northern New England is on pace to meet last year’s record-breaking winter for call volume.

Spokesman Pat Moody said the 100-person call center in Portland had answered just under 122,000 calls so far this winter for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

At peak, the center handled 350 to 400 calls in half an hour: motorists with frozen locks, frozen gas lines, dead batteries and cars that had slid off the road.

“We had a record-setting winter last winter,” Moody said Wednesday. “This winter is on pace to either meet that same volume or potentially break it. It seems like this winter has been relentless, either with snowstorm followed by snowstorm or snowstorm followed by bitter cold followed by snowstorm.”

The company has sold 2,000 car batteries this year, compared to 1,000 last year.

Car dealers, including Emerson Chevrolet Buick in Auburn, say all of those car troubles have been noticeable — and good for business — as people trade up for more reliable wheels.


“Believe it or not, the cold weather is usually pretty good for us,” General Manager Vinnie Goulette said. “Usually, used car sales take off in April and May, but we’re actually enjoying very, very good used car sales a little bit early this year. Unfortunately, the (tall snow) banks, pulling out, people sometimes have an accident. Instead of repairing it, they’ll buy a new one.”

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AAA Northern New England spokesman Pat Moody said AAA is trying to get messages out around safe driving and slowing down and leaving travel room near tow trucks that are pulled off to the side of the road helping drivers.

“We’ve had drivers either be hit or come close to being hit and it happens on a daily basis,” Moody said.

The company has created a new public service announcement and plans to be active in the Maine Legislature with several safety bills this winter, he said.

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