UDOT preparing for next round of winter weather
Jan 8, 2024, 7:09 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2024, 5:56 am
WEST VALLEY CITY — Preparations are underway across the state as another blast of winter weather is headed across Utah.
At the Utah Department of Transportation’s maintenance shed in West Valley, plow drivers used the break in the storm pattern Tuesday to prep their plows after a busy weekend on the roads.
“We’re checking our blades on our plows, checking sanders, checking all electrical connections, bolts and on the blades, wings, hydraulic fluids,” said Dawvynn Braun, who is in his third season as a snowplow driver for UDOT.
He said he saw several concerning behaviors from Utah drivers last weekend, including, driving too fast for the icy conditions and not giving the plows enough room to safely do their jobs.
“A lot of distracted driving, and dangerous driving,” he said.
Another round of storm prep underway, UDOT plows getting ready for Tuesday’s snow. Plow drivers tell me they saw lots of distracted drivers over the weekend, they’re asking drivers to put cell phones away, give plows room to work, and to never pass them on the right. #utwx #utah pic.twitter.com/FPXcKm8a5l
— Shara Park ✨ (@KSLSharaPark) January 9, 2024
A tense situation
Braun said on Sunday night a driver tried to pass his plow as he was clearing snow on the interstate, creating a tense situation for him and other drivers on the road. On Friday night, a driver tried to pass a plow on state Route 73 causing the plow to spin out of control and tip on its side. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
“We’re watching our mirrors, were watching our head plow, our wing and if you try to pass us it catches us by surprise and if you get too close to where were throwing snow that snow will grab you and slide you off the road,” Braun said.
Braun said it’s easy for drivers to forget how far the plows can throw the heavy wet snow, and how powerful that snow can be.
“It may cause an accident, it may cause damage to your vehicle,” he said.
Braun operates a snowplow that weighs approximately 9 tons, but he said UDOT’s two-wing plows weigh closer to 12 tons and they’re dropping 250 pounds of salt per lane mile, so they need other drivers to do their part and stay behind them, give them room and remember to never pass on the right.
“Use caution, if you see us just give us some room,” Braun said.
Over the weekend, Friday through Sunday, Utah Highway Patrol responded to 280 crashes across the state, many weather-related. State troopers reported that two of the crashes involved a fatality.