ANKENY, Iowa — Just like first responders, the Iowa DOT Highway Helpers are working extra hours to assist stranded drivers during extremely cold temperatures.
Highway helpers take care of jump starting cars, low fuel, tire changes and even removing debris from the road.
“If its quick and easy you know we will put fuel in and try to jump start their car real quick but if it requires us to get a tow involved and there’s wait time it’s too dangerous to sit out there this time of year. And we will make arrangements to get them home or get them to a safe location,” Iowa DOT Highway Helper Supervisor Tom Kimbrow said.
Kimbrow said even though a tire change only takes about six minutes, it is too dangerous to even try in this weather.
“Cold conditions really bring out the worst in vehicles. It will really point out a bad battery. It will point out a bad tire really quick. You find that there’s a lot more folks stranded when it’s super cold out,” Kimbrow said.
Highway helpers travel about 400 miles per day looking for stranded motorists like Renee Tedrow.
“I was just traveling back to Newton and my vehicle just started overheating and it’s just toast and it needs to be towed. And I know you’re supposed to stay with your vehicle, however I saw this Quick Trip and I’m thinking I can make it. I can make it,” Tedrow said.
As Tedrow was walking to Quick Trip, a highway helper picked her up.
“However in heels and a dress I couldn’t feel my legs any longer. And yes thank goodness they found me at the last minute,” Tedrow said.
Kimbrow said even though they work long hours, he loves his job.
“Its rewarding to be the person, you save the person. We save people. We get them off and out of danger and out of the adverse conditions,” Kimbrow said.
The Iowa DOT Highway Helpers are working from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to assist stranded drivers. All you have to do is call 911 and a dispatcher will send a helper your way for free.