The Big Chill
AAA Michigan spokesperson Nancy Cain says the insurer helped "nearly twice the number of motorists" this January compared to last. And as cars slid into each other on icy roads, body shops were scrambling. "It's been huge. It's almost overwhelming," says Alan Hukkala, manager at Whitney's Collision. "These storms hit back to back and at bad times --when you drive home or in [to work]. We've seen quite a few [cars] that were unrepairable."
With so many accidents, "even your parts are harder to get," says Hukkala. "All the dealers are currently out" of replacement parts. That's left some people waiting as much as a month to get their cars back.
But no one was busier than the snow removal companies "If we're not plowing, we're salting. If we're not salting, we're moving piles [of snow] with a loader," Hammond says. Coffee, energy drinks, and his dog, Axl, who travels with him, helped him get him through some twenty-four-hour days in the truck.
Though salt doesn't help when the temperature nears zero, he put it down anyway for customers who demanded it. "If you don't do it, they think you're just being lazy," he says. The snow and cold finally eased up a little in mid-February--allowing Hammond to take his first day off in two months.