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Butler repair shops talk importance of emergency kits in cars

Wrecktify Collision shop manager Tony Kopas poses for a photo while employee Zach Irion continues to take inventory of parts before the weekend on Sept. 29, 2023. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Eagle

Precautions are key to driving in the winter, according to two Butler repair shops.

Though Erin Conley of Wrecktify Collision in Butler sees crashes happen throughout the year, winter and its snow, slush, ice and cold temperatures bring their own set of challenges, resulting in an uptick in vehicles in need of repairs.

Being stranded on the side of the road can be a frightening experience, but there are few items you can keep packed in your vehicle in case of emergency situations, she said.

“Keep your phone charged, your gas tank full, keep a blanket in your trunk, and be as cautious as you can,” Conley said.

The National Weather Service also recommends carrying an extra charger for the phone at this time of year.

Mark Iarrapino, of Iarrapino’s Muffler & Brake Shop, in Butler, both recommended motorists have good windshield wipers and de-icer along with a snow brush.

“Not clearing your vehicle of snow and ice before driving is a common cause of weather-related accidents,” Conley said.

Both Iarrapino and Conley stressed the importance of making sure cars are equipped with the necessary items to handle winter weather, like jumper cables, flashlights with extra batteries, a basic tool kit, a blanket for emergency warmth or to place on the ground while working on the vehicle, extra winter clothing, flares, water and nonperishable food items.

Despite a driver’s best efforts, accidents can still happen. If you find yourself in unfortunate circumstance, that kit could come in handy.

Wrecktify Collision body repairman Jake Petras takes the door from a Volvo into the paint booth to get repainted on Sept. 29, 2023. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle

Conley reminded drivers the importance of getting to a safe location and checking everyone for injuries.

If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately, she said.

The next step is to get the vehicle off the road and to a safe location, if possible, she said.

“If you cannot get your vehicle off the road, call 911 immediately,” Conley said.

Turning hazard lights on while waiting for help to arrive increases the visibility for 911, the tow truck, and other drivers, she continued.

Once safe, she reminds drivers to take photos of the accident and photos of the other parties license plate and insurance card.

“This is the fastest way to exchange information,” she said.

If unable to take a photo, write down their license plate number, make and model of the vehicle, driver’s full name, insurance information from the insurance card, and a telephone number, she explained. In addition, it can be helpful to note what visible damage is done to the vehicles. This will be helpful when filing a claim with the insurance company, she said.

“Small accidents do not typically need to be called in as long as there is no property damage, no one is injured, and the vehicle does not need to be towed,” said Conley.

Items to include in car’s emergency winter supply kit:


Cellphone and charger

First aid kit

Jumper cables

Flares

Water and snacks

Flashlight

Bag of sand or cat litter

Blanket

Shovel, ice scraper or snowbrush

Boots, mittens and warm clothes

Tow rope

Tire chains or snow tires

Additionally, keep a full tank of gas.

Information provided by the National Weather Service.

Wrecktify Collision body repairman Jake Petras speaks with shop manager Tony Kopas about an estimate for a vehicle repair. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle
Wrecktify Collision body repairman Jake Petras stands while seeing what else needs put away in the shop, with dirty hands from a day of work. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle
Wrecktify Collision body repairman Jake Petras explains the welding work he's had to do and redo behind the rear taillight of a Volvo. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle
A Volvo sits on the shop floor at Wrecktify Collision awaiting new body panels and paint. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle
Wrecktify Collision body repairman Jake Petras talks with shop manager Tony Kopas and another employee about working in the shop. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle
Wrecktify Collision employee Zach Irion unpacks parts and puts them onto inventory shelves at the end of the day. Kyle Anderson/Special to the Butler Eagle

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