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By AAA of Western and Central New York
Severe winter weather is hitting parts of Western and Central New York today, namely the Buffalo and Watertown regions. AAA Orchard Park and Watertown offices are closed today, while AAA crews have been busy responding to road service calls amid wintry conditions.
AAA sent extra crews from Central New York to the Buffalo area ahead of the storm to assist. The additional vehicles deployed to Buffalo are specifically designed to rescue stranded motorists on the roadside in wintry conditions. Even with the additional resources, response has been hampered in some situations, as drivers navigate snowy roads.
AAA is reminding all motorists to adhere to any travel bans or advisories that may be in effect. The fewer vehicles on the roads, the easier it is for plows to clear snow and for tow trucks to respond to those in need.
More than half of the requests to AAA Western and Central New York today have been for cars off the road or stuck in heavy snow requiring a winch to extricate the vehicle – those calls are up 151% today in the Buffalo metro region compared to an average early winter day.
More requests are coming in from motorists who are stuck in their own driveways in heavy snow. AAA reminds everyone that their driveway, street and vehicle must be cleared of snow for a roadside technician to provide service. AAA is prioritizing calls and is asking those safe at home to please be patient while crews respond to stranded motorists. Anyone in an emergency situation should call 911.
A digital roadside request is the fastest way to request service. Simply go to www.AAA.com/RoadService or download the AAA mobile app. To place a phone call, dial 1-800-AAA-HELP.
AAA Insurance is reminding homeowners to clear furnace and water heater vents are clear of snow and to use caution while shoveling heavy snow.
The winter storm impacting the Buffalo Region has turned into an emergency situation for several motorists. AAA is aware of dozens of people stranded in their vehicles – many are on Routes 400 and 219, while some are on side streets in South Buffalo and the south towns.
In many cases, police are turning AAA trucks away for safety reasons to avoid more gridlock. Anyone stranded in a vehicle should call 9-1-1 immediately. AAA is reaching out to each motorist who placed a road service call and is notifying area police agencies of their whereabouts.
AAA is working with Erie County Emergency Services to rescue motorists as crews clear roads.
AAA urges all Erie County residents in the driving ban to stay home and avoid driving – most of the stranded motorists are within driving bans. Even when tow trucks have been able to get a vehicle back on the road, the vehicles often get stuck again in treacherous conditions.
For safety reasons, motorists are advised to stay in their vehicles, call 9-1-1, and only exit to verify that the tailpipe is free of snow.
AAA is temporarily suspending at-home service in those heavily impacted areas as trucks are unable to gain access. Again, anyone stranded on the roadside should call 9-1-1 immediately.
AAA offices will be closed on Saturday (Orchard Park, KenTon, Amherst). AAA driver training programs in Amherst are canceled this weekend.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.