Utah Highway Patrol urging caution during winter driving

LOGAN — As meteorologists forecast more snow through the Christmas holiday weekend, Utah Highway Patrol troopers are reminding motorists to drive cautiously during winter storms, when roads can become icy, snow covered and slick.

UHP Sgt. Jason Kendrick said troopers have seen an increase in the number of traffic accidents recently in Sardine and Logan Canyons. Most are from drivers going too fast or not being prepared for winter conditions.

“A lot of it has to do with watching those signboards that are put up,” said Kendrick. “Those message boards that say, ‘snow tires, chains or four-wheel drive required.’ We have had several cars up there that are not equipped to travel through the canyon or bad weather. They simply have bad tires or they are not four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, or equipped with chains. They get caught in those slopes and areas that are snow covered, getting stuck and then we have problems with them backing up from there.”

Troopers have also had trouble with semi-trucks and large commercial vehicles. Earlier this week, a semi traveling northbound in Sardine Canyon, jack-knifed near “Big Curve,” spilling some of its diesel fuel into the bar pit.

Kendrick said troopers see a lot of accidents where drivers are in a hurry and are not giving themselves enough time.

“Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going and slow down. Make sure that your wear your seatbelt, in case an accident or something does happen. That is the best chance of staying in control of a car or being uninjured.”

Kendrick said troopers report as they monitor speeds through the canyons, a majority of drivers are going too fast for the conditions, regardless of what the posted speed limit is.

“We sit up there on the shoulder, dealing with the slide-offs and other things happening. Troopers always report how fast traffic is going and it is usually way too fast for the conditions.”

Trooper safety is also a concern as they are on the roads assisting motorists who have crashed or become stranded.

Kendrick said, Utah Law requires drivers to slow down and move over whenever they see emergency crews along the roads.

“The question that comes up sometimes is, ‘what if there is a car next to me and I can’t move over?’ We would ask that you slow down as best as you can and move over as far as you can in your lane. Give us as much room as possible.”

Kendrick said the law also applies to snow plows, tow trucks, ambulances and other road maintenance workers.

<hr /><p style=”text-align: center;”>will@cvradio.com

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