Monday morning was a brutal one for the weather — and also for the number of calls for help to AAA's roadside assistance service.

Welcome to winter, and unfortunately for some of us, "dead battery land!"

The American Automobile Association in New Jersey received more than 1,200 member calls Monday morning alone. AAA Mid-Atlantic's's Tracy Noble said the No. 1 call by far "is certainly for those dead batteries."

According to Noble, 45 percent of the 1200 calls received were for dead or malfunctioning batteries.

This Monday was a lot harder on vehicles than last Monday. "Last Monday, for the full 24-hour period, our total calls were 1,382" — around as a many as had hit the service by 11:30 this Monday morning.

If your battery is three years old or older, you might want to have it tested, Noble said. She says what people need to remember is that at 0 degrees, a car's battery loses about 60 percent of its strength, and the engine needs about twice as much power to start.

You also want to make sure that you unplug cell phone chargers and GPS devices, and anything that can drain your battery unnecessarily. That way you are giving yourself the best start.

"If you have not had your vehicle tuned up in the recent past, you might want to take this opportunity and do so," she said. She advises following your vehicle's regular maintenance schedule — "simple things like making sure that your windshield washer fluid is filled, to help get rid of some of the dust and road grime that is now spraying on our roads because of the treatments that are out there."

And she says give your car a chance to warm up in this extreme cold for a few minutes before setting off in it — though if it's warmer than 25 degrees out, that can run contrary to NJ law.

"We certainly recommend only about 3 to 5 minutes to warm up your vehicle, and if it is in a garage, make sure that the garage is ventilated, not while that garage door is down, and preferably while there are no passengers in that vehicle," Noble said.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5.

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