Winter wrecks add up

We aren't the only ones who suffered through an incredibly long winter.
Marie Havenga
Mar 31, 2014
Some vehicles are still scarred from a season that saw soaring crash and auto repair numbers.
Winter car crashes were up an average 61 percent in Northwest Ottawa County compared to last season, according to data analysis by the Tribune.
It was one of the best winters ever at Fritz Auto Body in Grand Haven, with a 30 percent increase in business, co-owner Dave Fritz said.
But it wasn't just the snow that led to dents and dings — the cold left many car owners cracking up.
“What we encountered this year, with the temperature being so much colder and the new cars having urethane bumpers, people would hit the snow banks and the bumpers would crack,” Fritz said. “We definitely saw an increase in the amount of claims on bumpers because of the cold.”
While new bumpers are designed to flex, bitter cold temperatures make them brittle and prone to cracks.
Fritz praised local road crews for keeping the streets in good condition despite the barrage of blizzards, but he noted the high snow banks led to many crashes due to poor visibility when people were pulling out of parking lots or driveways.
“We had a lot of human error because the conditions we had were exceedingly more difficult than they have been in the past,” he said. “It wasn't just the inexperienced drivers. A lot of experienced drivers got into accidents, too.”
Deeper snow also caused more damage when people went off the road, according to Fritz.
Damages varied from $300 to $10,000.
Fritz noticed pricier damages occurred when people probably shouldn't have been on the roads.
“The whiteout days, those are the days that create the high-ticket accidents,” Fritz said. “When there's a warning to get off the road, there's a reason for that. Most of the cars that were out in a blizzard have substantially higher damage numbers.”
To read more of this story, see today's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



oh ya, the life of a body shop repair tech, late winter early spring means lots of work, i have been to a local repair shop for shocks, the owner said he has been been busy with, tires, shocks and wheel bearings from all of the pot holes, more than usaul


Vehicles today don't have urethane bumpers, they are either steel or aluminum. The fascia, the thin overlying skin, may be some form of urethane. Under most fascias, between the fascia and the actual bumper, are also low speed impact parts that are either foam or plastic molded parts.
The fascia will crack if it flexs too much, or when it is really cold and you run into something. The fascia is just a cover to look pretty, it is not the bumper.
We have almost completely bought into the "All Season" tire compromise. Everyone talks about having to have an All Wheel Drive vehicle to get through the bad weather. Unfortunately, you still have to stop, once you got going! I would suggest the purchase of some actual snow tires would be rather cheap insurance to help avoid, what has come to be almost routine, the "slide-off"! Leaving the road surface, as a result of losing control of the vehicle, is never routine, in my humble opinion.
Out West in the mountains, they have periods where you cannot drive over some mountain passes unless you have chains or 4-wheel snow tires. Perhaps those kinds of requirements need to be imposed here during extreme snow times.
Driving a front wheel drive vehicle, with its usually better fuel mileage, would probably pay for the snow tires.

Say no to new taxes

Four wheel snow tires make a huge differance, well worth the investment. You can't believe how well they stick on a slick surface!


miss those studded snow,s !!!

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