HOUSTON – With the reported number of ice-related crashes reaching the 1,000 mark since Monday, area automobile repair shops have been busy taking calls from weary, ice-cold Houstonians.
"People get into an accident and they don't know what to do," said Aaron Luna, body shop manager at Helfman River Oaks Chrysler.
Luna told KPRC2 his body shop did not take in many vehicles Wednesday, much of the rush has been over the phone. Still, Luna said his department already is set to accept 15 crashed vehicles by Thursday morning. That's three times the number the body shop takes in on a normal day.
Luna provided tips on what to do if you crashed because of the ice.
CAN MY CAR BE REPAIRED?
Short answer: That depends on several variables. For starters, the type of vehicle (make, model, year)
"The mileage on the car, the year model. The suspension that needs to be replaced on it, the value of the repairs, over exceeds the value of the car," Luna said.
"Just not worth it (to drive)," Luna said. "Most of the stuff we're getting from these accidents are mostly totaled," he said.
Luna suggests you call your insurance company first, before you call a repair shop.
IF IT'S REPAIRABLE, HOW DO I GET IT TO THE BODY SHOP?
Luna says just because a car may seem like it can be driven, it doesn't mean the car is safe to drive.
Computer systems may be irreparably damaged. Make sure your car is towed to a safe place, or the repair shop, if it seems the vehicle can be repaired.
If you left your vehicle stranded on an icy freeway, call 311. It may have been towed to a city-approved lot.
HOW LONG SHOULD REPAIRS TAKE?
Depends on the damage. It also depends on how quickly the repair shop can get the parts in need.
"Right now, it's not only us, the parts are at a standstill. People are not delivering parts. They don't want to put trucks on the street," Luna said.
In all, pack your patience. It may take as long as two weeks to get your car back.