AAA reports record-breaking call volume during extreme cold

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Lois Smith called AAA for help with a flat tire.

“I couldn’t get through,” she said Tuesday morning. “It was just a busy signal.”

Smith said she also tried unsuccessfully to request service online.

Lloyd Albert says AAA Northeast’s call center and website have been inundated with requests for roadside assistance.

“It’s just being barraged with requests at this point,” Albert said. “We are experiencing absolute record territory.”

Albert said dead car batteries are the number one problem reported to AAA.

“We’ve served 62,500 members stranded by the roadside in a very short period of time, so we have all hands on deck,” Albert added.

As Eyewitness News reported, the estimated wait time for AAA help last Thursday was four hours. Albert said the average wait time Tuesday afternoon was 47 minutes.

“Some people are experiencing much longer wait times,” he said. “It’s been an incredibly difficult four or five days.”

“What we’re really doing is prioritizing calls, so if you are stranded on a busy highway, if you are in harm’s way, if you have a child in a car that’s getting colder by the minute, we’re trying to get to those calls first,” Albert added.