UDOT: Nearly 500 plows used to clear roads

Posted at 11:03 AM, Dec 26, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-27 20:13:36-05

More snow blanketed the Salt Lake valley Wednesday night and it could linger on the roads in some areas until Friday.  

The Utah Department of Transportation is warning drivers that dangerous road conditions may exist and to stay home if possible. 

"These guys take a lot of pride in what they do. They are out there doing all the preps, the pretreatment, and then actually tackling the snow as it comes," said John Gleason, UDOT spokesman. "We have about 500 plows statewide, and just given the scope of the storm, most of those, or almost all of those were used."

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On Thursday afternoon, the Utah Highway Patrol reported the following crash totals:
Salt Lake County - 75 crashes with property damage, eight crashes with personal injuries
Utah County - 25 crashes with property damage, seven crashes with personal injuries

No significant injuries were reported.

Click here to read a Road Weather Alert from UDOT.

Lance Didericksen knows just how scary these slick roads can be.

As he was driving home to Tooele from his job in Murray he said, “I went to tap on the brakes, hit some black ice and off I went, just that fast.”

Didericksen says he’s a lucky man. About five minutes after his car crashed, an SUV also lost control and veered off the freeway in the same area, smashing into a fence.

“The guy who came in, who wrecked after me, he was going really fast, he missed me by about 50 yards,” Didericksen said.

UHP is urging drivers to slow down. Some are going so fast they can’t avoid a crash.

Around 10 Wednesday morning, a semitrailer jack-knifed on I-80 near Grantsville. Then, with its trailer blocking the eastbound lanes, a dump truck hit it. The vehicle couldn’t stop in time.

“It’s the same song and dance, you guys hear from us all the time, it’s speed, it’s following distance,” said Lt. Mike Loveland with the Utah Highway Patrol.

Troopers are asking drivers to be mindful of that and get off the freeway altogether if they’ve been involved in a fender-bender or non-injury accident.  

That was not an option for Lance Didericksen. He was stuck and needed a tow truck to get back on the road. But troopers say other drivers just stay parked on the shoulder of the freeway waiting for help when they’d be safer to just could get off at the nearest exit and call 9-1-1.

“If it’s two or three cars, we need to respond but we can respond to an off-ramp or some place safer than having cars fly by under dangerous conditions,” said Loveland.

UHP says it’s not only safer for motorists but troopers as well. And, as long as you call dispatch, parking in a safer location is not considered leaving the scene of an accident.

The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory through Thursday night for the entire Wasatch Mountain range. An accumulation of one to two feet of snow is possible for areas along the west facing slopes. The benches can expect between eight and 12 inches of snow with the Wasatch Valley receiving three to seven inches.

The heaviest period of snow is expected to start late Wednesday morning and continue through Thursday morning.

Link: FOX 13 Weather