Towing companies offering advice for winter driving

Now that the calendars have officially deemed it winter, area towing companies are offering some advice to residents on ways to make their jobs a bit easier.

Dave Burchfield Jr., vice president of Burchfield Truck Sales in Duncansville, said a higher volume of calls, and more complex calls, can make for a long slate of cars to tow.

Charlie Walter, owner of Walter’s Auto Wrecking in Hollidaysburg, said he sees an increase in business during the winter, but having a more rural office keeps him off “tow lists” for other regions, including the city of Altoona.

Keeping safe driving in mind can help to lighten the load, Burchfield said. He said drivers should drive slower to help prevent winter accidents.

Walter echoed the sentiment.

“I think that the traffic ought to really slow down,” he said. “There’s black ice, and stuff falling off other vehicles.”

Burchfield also said that drivers tend to go into lanes that haven’t been plowed, leading to crashes.

“They need to stay in the plowed roads,” he said. “Passing lanes are not where they need to be.”

The holiday season sees a large increase in travelers, according to AAA.

AAA estimates that 94.5 million people will travel during the year-end holiday season, which it said is Dec. 21 to Jan. 1. According to AAA, an expected 3.76 million drivers will be rescued during that time period, mostly due to dead batteries, blown tires and accidental lockouts.

Burchfield said his company, which employs 12 wrecker tow trucks and five rollback tow trucks, offers free battery testing to help prevent the first issue.

Cold weather can drain batteries faster than normal.

AAA also recommends that drivers check battery power frequently during the holiday season.

Especially in very bad weather, drivers should plan to stay warm in case of a

wait for a tow, Burchfield said.

“They should always throw a blanket in the car in case they get stranded somewhere,” he said. “People try to go where they can’t go.”

For more information on preparing cars for winter or to find more information on towing services, visit