Ann Arbor's snowy weather kicks off busy season for tow trucks
Courtney Sacco I AnnArbor.com
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When the first snowflakes of winter fall on Ann Arbor, Billy Salamey knows it’s about to get pretty busy for his tow truck drivers.
Salamey, owner of Budget Stadium Towing, said his business started getting a lot of calls on Monday as a Christmas Eve snowstorm came into the area. A couple days later, more than six inches of snow fell on the Ann Arbor area and Salamey’s trucks were responding to area roads to help out drivers who were stuck in various unfortunate states.
Salamey said between 20 and 25 cars had to be pulled out of ditches during the storm Wednesday and Thurdsay and his drivers also helped out a jack-knifed semi truck Thursday morning. However, he said it could have been worse.
“If this wasn’t a holiday week and the kids weren’t all gone, it would have doubled or tripled,” he said.
He added, “If it was the second week of January, it might take eight or nine hours for us to get someone out there.”
Salamey said there were more accidents on Monday, when a smaller amount of snow fell. When there is a smaller amount of snow on the ground, drivers get the impression they can drive normally. However, the cold weather can glaze the roads with ice and make it more dangerous, he said.
When there’s a heavy snowfall like Wednesday’s storm, that can actually prevent accidents because drivers can’t go as fast as they’d like to, he said.
“People feel comfortable driving in it because it doesn’t look that bad and that’s how they lose control,” he said, referring to Monday's lighter snow. “When there’s a substantial snowfall like (Wednesday), they can’t go that fast even if they wanted to.”
Salamey emphasized the need for good tires and windshield wipers during winter weather and encouraged drivers to watch their speed and leave enough space between other cars.
While there were a number of people spun out in ditches on the sides of area roads during the storm, Salamey said no one had to be rescued from particularly perilous situations.
He said he knows of instances where farm tractors have had to tow vehicles back to the roadway after they’ve ended up too far into the snow to be helped. Nothing like that happened Wednesday or Thursday, but with New Year’s Eve celebrations not far off, he’s prepared to be pulling cars from strange places.
More slippery roads could be in the picture for Ann Arbor Friday with a 60 percent chance of snow and Saturday with a 40 percent chance.
“There were no adventurous ones but that might change on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day when people get more excited,” he said.