Weather-related accidents bring heavy workload for auto body shops

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -- There is a lot to do at Ken's Auto Body in Appleton.

"We're direct repair for several insurance companies, and they send us work," said Jeff Muskevitsch, shop estimator at Ken's Auto Body. "We actually have a tow facility across the road, and they'll bring us cars here."

Eight technicians repair up to 10 vehicles each week, most of them damaged in weather-related accidents.

"A lot of times we get your regular bumper smashes," said Muskevitsch. "People going to school, going to Walmart, somebody backs into somebody or hits a curb because they can't see because of the snow."

"We live in Wisconsin, and when we live in Wisconsin in the wintertime, we have to take special precautions," said Officer Stuart Zuehls, community policing coordinator with the Neenah Police Department.

The Menasha Police Department made a map showing the locations of 116 vehicles that crashed, went into the ditch, or got stuck across Winnebago County within 12 hours of the snow starting.

"If you normally stop at 30 feet in this type of weather, give yourself 60 or 90 feet," said Zuehls.

He asks drivers to slow down and turn their headlights on, adding that almost all of these accidents are preventable.

Ken's Auto Body is currently booking repairs for up to three weeks out.

"As you well know, the cars are very important to people getting to work and getting kids to school," said Muskevitsch. "They're kind of at us to get them done as quick as we can, but we're kind of held, too. If we're busy, we can only do so much work during the day."

Muskevitsch says many of the newer cars have parts that cannot be repaired and must be replaced. That puts a strain on parts dealers as well.

He says most vehicles can be fixed within three days, but that depends on the extent of the damage.

The shop estimator expects numerous people to reach out to Ken's Auto Body in the next week for more information about repairs once the snow ends.

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