Stall outs and break downs keep safety crews busy in chilly temperatures

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- On frigid nights like Monday night it can happen to anybody. You’re driving down the road and suddenly you have car trouble. It’s a situation that the Wisconsin State Patrol says can turn dangerous fast when temperatures drop this low.

Troopers say in the past 24 hours they have responded to more than 80 stall outs and breakdowns on highways.

With another frigid night in the forecast, troopers say they will be making faster rounds and will be on the lookout for stranded motorists out on highways Monday night.

“I’ve seen a dozen or more stalled out semis since I left this morning,” semi truck driver Mike Skobbroten said.

Skobroten whose been trucking for 30 years says stall outs are a common site on the side of highways and truck stops when the temperature drops below zero.

“We keep full of fuel most of the time and we put additives in there and so it keeps the fuels thinned out,” Skobroten explained.

Skobbroten says he's had stall outs happen to him in the past, and he knows how quickly the warm cab of his truck can turn icy cold in these conditions.

“It cools off pretty fast,” he said.

That's why tow companies and the State Patrol say they are quick to respond on days like Monday.

“One of the first questions we ask customers is are you in a safe warm area to be,” Bob Adams owner of Adams Automotive said. “Then we try to organize it that way so if someone is stranded out on I-94 we can get to them into a reasonable amount of time.”

Adams Automotive says their tow trucks and drivers have been busy all day. Out on the roads the State Patrol says it’s important that crews get there as soon as they can to make sure everyone stays warm and safe.

“Experiencing the temperatures we are experiencing frostbite can occur in under 10 minutes to an exposed face,” State Patrol inspector Dan Gruebele said, “A lot of times people want to take care of their vehicles on their own and if they are outside in this weather without the protection of their vehicle frostbite can set in very quickly.”

Gruebele says the most important thing that motorists can do if they become stranded on the highways is stay in their vehicle rather than get out and brave these chilly temperatures.


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