Freezing rain boosts local auto body repair shop business

By KBJR News 1

January 13, 2014 Updated Jan 13, 2014 at 10:46 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Freezing rain and low temperatures turned Northland roadways into a skating rink over the past couple days, causing many accidents.

"Black ice happened, it's a real thing," said Duluth resident Bridgette Baker.

According to Duluth Police, 56 crashes happened Sunday between 9:30 AM and 3:30 PM from icy roads.

"A lot of cars were going sideways down the hills, ya know, nothing real heavy as far as hits go," said Steve Nelson, owner of Twin Ports Collision Repair.

Local auto body repair shop workers say although these types of slippery road conditions cause headaches for many, they boost repair shop business.

"I do make my living on other peoples' misfortune, but everything is going good, we're getting as many cars as we can done so it's a great year," said Nelson.

A great year for repair shops... but for drivers, slippery roads only create headaches.

"I've been trying to get it into a auto body shop and they're all very busy," said Baker.

... all busy, some fully booked through the next month, because of accidents like these.

"I was skidding on the freeway, just trying to get up to freeway speed, and hit some black ice and collided with another vehicle," said Baker.

For Baker, the collision means a dent in her pocket financially, and unanticipated time and energy spent searching for a way to fix her vehicle.

"Most of them are just smaller jobs. When it was real cold the bumpers would just shatter, so we're doing a lot of that, too," said Nelson.

Local repair shop workers urge everyone in the Northland to drive slowly during these slippery times.

Although there were 56 crashes in a six hour time span in Duluth Sunday, none were fatal.

Of the 56, 34 were off-road vehicle crashes, while statewide off-road crash statistics were 111.

Elsa Robins