Battery problems are the leading cause of car breakdowns in the Hunter, new figures show.
Of the almost 850,000 callouts attended in the Newcastle and the Hunter by the National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) patrols in 2020, 43,000 were for battery problems.
Figures show that almost half (46%) were related to battery failure.
The figures are based on callouts from March 2020 to February 2021.
Other major breakdown causes in a year of roadside service heavily-affected by the COVID-19 pandemic included wheels and tyres (14%), electrical (8%), cooling system (4%) and fuel injection (3%).
Over the same timeframe NRMA patrols rescued 1,874 children and pets locked in cars and repaired 326 immobile wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Newcastle reported 20, 796 call outs for breakdowns, the highest number in the region, followed by Port Stephens with 8,945.
Other areas include Maitland with 6769 callouts, Cessnock with 4413 and the Upper Hunter 1,429.
NRMA patrol team leader Kosta Karavanas said the importance of roadside assistance was again highlighted during the recent flooding in NSW, where demand for NRMA’s service on the side of the road rose by 40 per cent.
“Families want peace-of-mind when they’re on the road,” he stated.
“We saw that extensively over the last year, especially during extreme weather conditions.
“We see massive spikes in demand when it’s very hot, cold or wet and getting to people quickly and getting them back on the road is critical to their safety and to help ease congestion on our roads.”