Snow is just hours away and some upstate areas will likely be several inches visible – Times Union | CarTailz

SCHENCTADY – With winter comes picturesque scenes, brightly lit Christmas trees, good news – and car accidents.

The promise of the first snowfall of the season will have auto mechanics across the region on standby Wednesday for a throng of customers who are wrecking their cars after months of not driving in wintry conditions.

Across the state, residents should wake up Wednesday to find a layer of snow and ice. The rainfall should make morning commutes a challenge as the first measurable snow falls on the roads for the first time in months, meteorologists say.

Local car mechanics and body shops are preparing for the consequences.

“The first snowfall always claims a lot of victims,” ​​says Gianni Plemenik, co-owner of Frank & Sons Body Works in Scotia.

Many vehicles that are towed lack properly maintained tires or winter tires.

“As soon as it starts snowing, about 60 percent of the cars that arrive don’t have good winter tires,” said Plemenik.

An increase in business is expected for many car repair shops throughout the capital region.

Clifton Park-based Cole’s Collision Center considers the early days of winter to be peak season for towing disabled vehicles, some of which may remain suspended in a damage site for at least a day.

The five-site chain typically sees 25 to 30 tows at five sites after the winter snowfall, President Josh Jewett said.

“The first tends to have the biggest peak [non-drivable vehicles] we’re seeing,” Jewett said.

Tire centers are also usually flooded the day before the storm.

“It’s usually a tradition,” said Damon Adams, general manager of Schenectady Auto Service.

After the first snows of winter, Schenectady Auto Service typically sees vehicles with front and rear damage, as well as damaged suspensions from vehicles sliding onto curbs.

Schenectady Auto typically sees between three and ten damaged vehicles roll into the workshop after the first snow of the season.

“There would probably be fewer cars if people were more patient,” Adams said.

The process typically takes several days, said Jeremiah Pucci, owner of 518 Collision in Schenectady.

“People aren’t used to the weather yet,” Pucci said, “but it really depends on how much snow falls. Or whether someone has winter tires – many factors play a role here.”

Deidre Attendorn, an office worker at Colby Body & Fender Works in Albany, has turned the post-storm sequence into a science.

“That’s why it usually takes two or three days to reach a body shop after an accident,” Attendorn said.

The owner typically spends the first day figuring out what actually happened and the second day untangling insurance information and identifying a repair shop.

“If it’s a non-roadworthy vehicle that needs to be towed, it’s usually 3 to 5 days after the accident,” said Attendorn.

Winters are typically Colby Body & Fender Works’ busiest time of year, but employees have been at full steam throughout the year as pandemic-related issues continue to impact the broader economy.

“Parts are harder to come by, there are staff shortages: the whole year has been pretty busy, as if it were our peak season,” said Attendorn.

Dave Anker, owner of Anker’s Auto Service in Schenectady, remembers the annual phone calls in early winter.

“People are panicking. I need winter tires! I need wiper blades!”

Anker has a few tips for timid riders heading out into the fresh snow:

As a test, tap the brake hard twice.

“Watch out for the other guys who can’t drive,” Anker said.

Towing companies are also expecting an increase in business this week, particularly in morning commutes.

“You get stuck in traffic and it’s very common to pull off the Northway and end up in a ditch,” said Joe Martin, owner of Dott’s Garage in Albany.

The Albany National Weather Service expects Albany will not fall by more than an inch. Still, higher totals are expected in the southern and central Adirondack Mountains and in remote locations like western Schenectady County and the Catskills.

Four inches could fall Speculator in the Adirondacks and Hunter in the Catskills. Meteorologists say up to 6 inches of snow could fall in parts of the central Adirondacks.

Closer to home, Albany is unlikely to get more than an inch.

At least one inch is expected in low-lying parts of the Hudson Valley, one inch in Hudson, and less than one inch in Kingston.

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