UHP, UDOT warn drivers to be prepared before driving on snowy roads

Dec 7, 2023, 9:03 PM | Updated: Dec 8, 2023, 7:23 am

SALT LAKE CITY — With the winter season bringing a couple of inches of snow in the valley and much more in the mountains, the Utah Highway Patrol wants to remind everyone to dust off their winter driving skills in preparation.

“We’ve got to be prepared regardless of when that weather comes in,” said UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden.

All it takes is one or two inches to make that commute to work a little uneasy, but state troopers say there are ways you can feel more confident driving in winter weather.

“We kind of go into autopilot when we go into work, go into school, so we tend to think we can go faster than we should be going when the roads and the conditions are slick, so we really need to slow down because those are the biggest things we see when causing crashes, is speed too fast for the conditions,” Roden said.

The Utah Department of Transportation is also doing its part by ensuring its plows are ready for the upcoming storm, checking that each plow has enough salt and brine.

“Our drivers (will) get their sleep, hit the road, and battle the snow until it ends,” said UDOT lead Weston Ficher.

Crews work around the clock, Fischer said, prepared for whatever comes. The biggest message crews have for drivers who will be out early Friday morning is to slow down.

“You never know what the storms (are) going to bring. Be prepared, slow down, make sure you got good tires, give us our space to do our work, and we’ll get you where you need to go safely,” Fischer said.

UHP says being prepared starts before even driving. Ensure you’re not driving on bald tires, clear of snow or ice on your windshield and headlights, and check your fluids. And when it is go time.

“The second thing that we normally see that causes a lot of crashes is following too close. You need to make sure that you back off even more to give yourself the opportunity to react to any hazards that you come upon,” Roden said.

So, whether it’s your first time driving in a Utah storm or your 15th, many weather-related crashes are preventable, so plan ahead. But remember, if you do lose control or run into a hazard, state troopers will be ready to act swiftly.

“We kind of watch for those areas which will be affected by those storms, so if we need to bring out extra personnel, we can do that in advance in anticipation to help get crashes and areas cleared off as quickly as possible,” Roden said.

Contributing: KSL TV’s Brianna Chavez

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UHP, UDOT warn drivers to be prepared before driving on snowy roads