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Tips for taking care of vehicles in cold weather

Below freezing temperatures are keeping towing companies across the state busy this week.

MAINE, USA — Anyone who had a little trouble starting their car Tuesday morning wasn't alone. Tow companies across Maine stayed busy throughout the day as they received calls to rescue people who needed a jump start for their car. 

Union Street Towing was one of those many tow companies helping people in the greater Bangor area. Most people needed their batteries charged, and some others needed a little extra air added to their tires. 

Zachary King, service driver for Union Street Towing, said these below-freezing temperatures could drain or freeze car batteries. But, he said there is a way to help preserve your car's battery life during the cold winter months. 

"We get a lot of older people that don't drive as much, or they're in the house due to COVID and stuff like that. Even if you're not driving it every day, every couple [of] days, if you let it run in the driveway, or the garage with the garage doors up, let it run 40-45 minutes ... it'll extend the life of the battery and keep it charged," King said. 

King also helped out a couple of college students who needed a jump start for their vehicles. 

Once a vehicle is up and running, it's also important to keep safe driving in mind. Leo Waldenback is the head of growth for Zutobi Drivers Ed, an all-in-one app that helps people prepare to take the driver license exam. He said slick roads should mean slower speeds. 

"Speed is a major factor here, and people really need to adapt their driving to the conditions," Waldenback said. 

Waldenback warned in below-freezing temperatures to be sure to look out for black ice. It's one of the most treacherous driving conditions. If a driver hits a patch of ice while driving, he said it's best to take their foot off the gas pedal and just let the car pass through it. 

"If you hit your brake, or if you start accelerating, or jerking your wheel, that's the worst thing you could do because it just increases the likelihood of you skidding," Waldenback said. 

Waldenback also suggested drivers double the space between them and the car in front of them when driving in wintery road conditions.

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