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Extreme Cold Leaves Motorists Stranded; AAA Gets More Than 1,000 Calls In An Hour

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Rochelle Ritchie 370 x 278 Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Bundle up, Baltimore. The bitter cold air is sticking around. Residents who braved the cold were dressed for the Arctic air, wearing multiple layers around downtown. Meanwhile, the wind is still whipping, making it feel even colder outside. Some people are trading their gloves for a warm drink to help combat the cold. Outside, it’s still frigid–and it’s going to last at least another day.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the travel troubles because of the cold.

These frigid temperatures are not only dangerous for the human body, they’re also causing problems for drivers on the road.

A lot of people may have stayed inside to avoid the ice-cold temperatures, but they may want to check on their cars.

Drivers beware: cars all across Baltimore City are having a tough time starting up after record freezing temperatures settle over the city. Many people with errands to run woke up to find they couldn’t go anywhere because of dead car batteries.

“I was hoping for the car to start so I could get my kids to school,” said Mark Cudek.

The Arctic blast is hard on vehicles but good for business. AAA has been inundated with calls for help. At its busiest time, it received more than 1,000 calls in one hour. AAA says those stranded on the shoulder of an interstate will take priority. They are asking members to please remain patient while awaiting service and to make sure their car is equipped with an emergency road kit.

“Really busy. Really busy; we are totally swamped right now. I mean, I’ve got calls sitting on my computer right now,” said Nick Kruma-Phillips, AAA.

Some do-it-yourselfers like Kenny Holmes are taking matters into their own hands. He got a battery pack after both of his car batteries died overnight–a reminder of how quickly things can change.

The freezing temperatures can prove dangerous for people not parked in front of their home but driving on the interstate, so highway patrol officers are keeping an eye on the roads.

“We’re on high alert to make sure every disabled vehicle we see on the road, we make sure no one is stranded,” said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.

State Highway Patrol says it’s a good idea to keep a blanket in your car just in case you do get stranded. You also want to make sure your cell phone is fully charged.

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