November 4th, 2011

WINTER SAFETY

Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

Utah storms are on the weather horizon and road users need to be prepared for driving on icy, snowy roads.  

An Incident Management Truck worker warns motorists of a crash in Provo Canyon

UDOT keeps state roads as safe as possible during storms. Do your part by driving the appropriate speed, monitoring traffic conditions, driving with care around snow plows and adjusting trip plans whenever possible.

Drive for Zero Fatalities

In any weather, drowsy, distracted, aggressive or impaired driving is unsafe. Icy or snow packed roads are especially unforgiving, so a heightened level of attention is required. Sometimes drivers don’t adjust speed to conditions. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, Highway Safety office crash data report “speed is the leading unsafe driving behavior that contributes to deaths.”

High speeds extend the distance necessary to stop, reduce a drivers’ ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the road and reduce vehicle stability. Mix high speed with ice and snow and tragedy can quickly result.

CommuterLink

UDOT’s CommuterLink website is a great resource for road users. It’s a good idea to bookmark the site and check road conditions before you leave on your commute or errand. The site integrates camera views and information about accidents and traffic delay on an interactive map. Users can take a virtual look at the ride through the storm to anticipate conditions like ice or snow on the road or crashes that slow traffic.  Better yet – avoid delay altogether by taking an alternate route or adjusting travel time.

Stay safe around snow plows

  • Motorists should always slow down and travel about a football field’s length behind snowplows to increase highway safety for all drivers.
  • Following a snowplow too closely often results in broken windshields or damaged paint caused by salt or abrasives being distributed on highways.
  • Drivers should use extreme caution when passing a snowplow and never pass on the right side or use the shoulder to pass. Drivers should watch for snowplows equipped with wing plows, which can extend several feet off either side.

Other things to remember:

  • Bridges freeze first. Ambient air temperature cools the bridge from both sides. On the road itself, “the ground holds the heat,” says Rich Clarke, UDOT Maintenance Operations Engineer. So, pavement on a bridge can be icy while road pavement on either side can be wet.
  • Ice can be very difficult to detect.  A thin layer of water on pavement “can change from wet to ice in a moment,” says Clarke. Visually distinguishing unfrozen water from black ice while driving is extremely difficult if not impossible.
  • If you can, stay home during the first part of a storm. Plow operators clear the road as quickly as possible. “The first hour of a storm can be the most treacherous,” since a vigorous storm can cover roads quickly, explains Lynn Burnhard, UDOT Maintenance Methods Engineer. Delaying your departure gives UDOT a chance to clear the roads.
  • Don’t make weather assumptions.  “Be careful not to generalize,” when it comes to storms cautions meteorologist Joel Dreessen who works with UDOT. Since the storms vary greatly in temperature and duration in Utah, it’s very difficult to know what kind of winter conditions to expect. Utah can get hit with a heavy snow storm followed by sun. While the roads may look clear after such a weather event, a quick drop in temperature can turn melted snow to ice.  A very cold storm can cause road water and snow to glaze quickly.  So, even a storm that appears to be light can in reality can create very hazardous conditions.

Be careful out there!

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Responses to “WINTER SAFETY”

  1. Storm, icy or snow can be a danger to travelers. These might cause accident, delay in travel, being trap on the road and any other unwanted events while these scenario continue to go on.

    So, the travelers must to the safe driving and any other safety measure that will protect them or prevent any road accidents.

  2. Storms and snows are seems to be accident-causing events. Especially road accidents for those who travels during storm or snow..

    Keep in mind to be safe always.

  3. Yep, I do agree that snow and ice storms can be deadly events. Especially for those traveling on an interstate during the storm. It is always best to be prepared for any emergency by carrying an extra blanket, first aid kit, food, etc whenever you have to make any extended trips in inclement weather. This also why you will find many plows operating “during” the storms. You can learn more about this subject at http://www.snowplowsfortrucks.org/
    which helps people find the best snow plow for their truck in addition to the information
    they are looking for to plow snow safely and efficiently.

  4. I think it would be advisable to get indoors as soon as possible as soon as a snow storm hits. It is advisable to have supplies and extra clothing just in case you are caught in a snow storm.

    Black ice is also very difficult to detect so it is always advisable to drive slowly, brake carefully and be careful out there.

    Take care all.

  1. www.car9.info (,November 25, 2011)

    Driving Safely in the Snow…

    If you live in an area that gets the sun during the winter months, driving can be tricky, especially during big rain and snowstorms. Visibility can be little or nothing, and if it gets too cold, the roads can be icy and slippery.

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