Stranded motorists in race to get cars back on the road

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Mechanics say cold weather breakdowns now - especially battery failures - may not be just due to snow and freezing temperatures.

"The damage is done in the summer when the electrolyte is under extreme high temperatures in the summer, then starts to break down," said mechanic Ross Dillard.

Last summer set up this week's battery failures, but whatever is causing a car to break down, we know for sure it's causing a back-up on the side of Indiana's highways. State police ordered 45 cars towed from Indianapolis-area interstates Wednesday, for everything from crashes to breakdowns to slide-offs.

Just before the rush hour Wednesday, police officers worked fast and furious with towing crews to clear breakdowns from the interstate near downtown. Eyewitness News spotted three cars abandoned on the northeast and east sides were towed within an hour-and-a-half.

"My gas gauge was acting up, all of a sudden, my car sputtered and died out," said driver William Deaton.

Deaton stayed with his car along I-465 near Shadeland Avenue for help. He has seen reports of thieves swiping wheels from broken down cars. There have been three cases in the last week.

"I've actually seen vehicles like that. They set them up on bricks and stuff like that," said Deaton.

By law, if you have a breakdown on the interstate within I-465, you've got two hours to move that car or state police can order it towed.

"There are several things you can do. Stay with the vehicle, call a tow truck, call in emergency services to come while you were there with the vehicle," said ISP Sgt. Rich Myers. "Make sure it is removed at that time or call a person, a family member, to come up with you, but remove it as soon as possible."

Deaton wants to avoid that tow.

"Usually, they say if it's in the loop, it's like $135 to tow," he said.

He says it's best to wait and see if you can move it yourself.