Snow wreaking havoc on northern Utah roads

Posted at 4:32 PM, Dec 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-10 00:21:03-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Saturday's snowstorm left the roads slippery, causing multiple crashes along the Wasatch Front.

From midnight Saturday to Sunday afternoon, Utah Highway Patrol responded to 96 accidents in Salt Lake County alone.

One of those crashes involved a UHP patrol cruiser; the trooper had pulled over to the side of I-15 Sunday morning to help a car that had slid off the road when another vehicle lost control, ramming into the back of the cruiser.

None of those accidents have had major injuries but troopers say the danger is always there and drivers should take extra precautions.

Meanwhile, snowplows spent Saturday working on the slippery roadways. Tania Mashburn with UDOT says almost all of their 500 snowplows statewide were out on the roads Saturday. Since the snow was coming down so fast, it still took hours for the full fleet of plows to clear some roads.

"That snow came down extremely heavy it was very cold we were dealing with a lot of black ice," Mashburn said. "Sometimes the snow comes down too fast for our plows to be able to handle it and we go over it again and again."

Even when plows aren't out on the road, UDOT's meteorologists are monitoring roadways from afar.

"We actually have little temperature sensors in the roads that can actually tell what the temperature is," Mashburn said. "They are monitoring the storm several days beforehand. They can predict where it's going to hit. They can look at the exact temperature of the road."

UDOT says the safest place on the roadway is driving behind a snowplow, but keep your distance.

"They like to tailgate, they like pull up right next to you. And they like to pass right in front off you, spin out and play bumper tag," said snow truck operator John Searle.

And if the plows are moving too slow, Mashburn says drivers should just be patient; each truck usually plows about a five-mile stretch then they'll be out of your way.