Skip to main content

Getting roadside assistance from an agency like the American Automobile Association, or AAA, in the event of an emergency, breakdown, or accident is essential. However, many motorists have never used roadside assistance or towing before and don’t know how it works. So, how long does it take AAA to respond to you in an emergency, and what can they do to help you?

How long does it take AAA to get to you?

AAA says the average response time to roadside assistance requests is around 21 minutes. Of course, that’s average, and drivers in rural or underserved areas might see over one-hour wait times. Moreover, AAA often uses local towing services, so wait times depend on call volume and precedence.  

A classic AAA badge on an old truck.
A classic Automobile Association of America badge | Robert Alexander via Getty Images

However, once a dispatcher connects you with a towing or roadside assistance vehicle, you’ll get updates via text or phone call. As a result, you’ll know if your estimated wait is closer to the 21-minute average or closer to an hour or longer. 

How does AAA work?

Cardholding members can call the roadside assistance number on their cards. Once connected with a dispatcher, members can provide their membership number and describe what services they need. After that, dispatchers can find local services to reach the stranded motorist. 

Insurance Navy says roadside assistance and towing depend on three membership levels. Classic membership will allow users to tow a vehicle within five miles of the breakdown. However, the Plus level will allow 100 miles, and the Premier level will tow a car up to 200 miles to a service center of the motorists’ choice. 

A black and white tow truck provides roadside assistance and towing to a car after a breakdown.
A classic tow truck | Underwood Archives via Getty Images

Does AAA tow motorcycles?

In addition to towing cars, trucks, and larger vehicles, AAA will tow motorcycles. Motorcyclists should tell the dispatcher they want a flatbed tow for a motorcycle. However, motorcyclists will have to opt for a Premier membership to get motorcycle service.

Once members have motorcycle coverage, they can get their bike towed 200 miles the first time and 100 miles for subsequent tows. Like roadside services for cars, service providers can bring gasoline or a jumpstart pack to help motorcycles get back on the road without a tow.  

Can my partner use my AAA card?

Let’s say it’s not you who is stranded, but your partner instead. Membership cards aren’t transferable, but you can call for roadside assistance if you’re a passenger in a vehicle. Of course, AAA isn’t the only way to get roadside assistance. 

A AAA flat bed towing truck provides roadside assistance to a broken-down car.
Flat bed tow truck | Andrew Woodley via Universal Images Group via Getty Images

How can you get roadside assistance without AAA?

Many vehicle insurance policyholders might be surprised to learn that some policies include basic roadside help programs. For instance, USAA will dispatch local services to help qualifying policyholders up to four times yearly. 

How do you get your help on the side of the road after a breakdown? Tell us in the comments below!


Is Renting a Car or Motorcycle in Another Country a Good Idea?