Troopers warning motorists ahead of another winter holiday weekend

LOGAN — Law enforcement is asking motorists to be alert and slow down during the New Year’s weekend, after a large snow storm Christmas weekend caused numerous accidents.

Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Lee Perry said troopers responded to 33 crashes in Cache and Box Elder counties, from December 23 through the 26. Most of those were caused by people driving too fast for the winter conditions.

“When you’re driving in those conditions, you’ve got to give yourself more following distance than when it’s perfect, sun shiny, no snow, no rain and no water on the roads at all,” said Perry. “So in this kind of weather, when it’s cold and there is a chance of ice on the road, you ought to be following at four-and-five seconds, not at two-seconds.”

The Utah Department of Transportation has launched a website to educate motorists about winter travel. It includes driving tips, road conditions and weather forecasts. The address is <a href=”http://utahwinterdriving.org/” target=”_blank”>utahwinterdriving.org</a>.

Perry said even when the weather looks good, motorists should have either winter tires or a least all-season tires on their vehicle, especially when driving in the canyons.

“You get out today, the sky is blue and you think it is safe to go through there [Wellsville Canyon] but the wind drifts and sometimes you get a drift across Dry Lake area. If you are not driving with the proper equipment, you could end up in a crash, or have something bad happening to you or someone else.”

During the winter months, some areas of Logan Canyon don’t receive direct sunlight. This can also cause problems for motorists even with plows clearing snow and throwing salt, to melt the ice.

Perry said, the biggest mistake people make is not slowing down when they see other motorists or emergency vehicles off the side of a road.

“The reality is when you see anybody broken down on the side of the road, you should get your foot off the gas, start to slow down and say ‘if they slide off there is a chance I might slide off.’ Get your speed down to a more reasonable, manageable speed so that you won’t slide into them.”

If your vehicle does slide off the road, Perry recommends that you stay in your car or try and move to a safer location.

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