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UDOT prepares for winter storm ahead of the snow

Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-17 08:57:30-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- If you are not ready for winter, now is the time to prepare because your Friday morning commute could be a cold and slippery one.

UDOT is ready to take care of the roads, including I-80 in Parleys Canyon, but is your car ready for the drive?

“We’ve been out pushing snow two or three times this year already, so our trucks are pretty much ready, but we are doing some preventative maintenance, making sure everything’s greased," said Roger Frantz, a UDOT Roadway Operation Manager.

UDOT trucks sat in Parleys shed off I-80 Thursday after crews prepped them earlier in the day. Frantz said they double-checked everything, making sure the trucks are fueled up and ready to go when crews come back Thursday evening. One of their focuses is storm drains.

“We’re a little concerned with the rain we’re gonna get because of the leaves and things, so we’ll have a crew out cleaning drains as well prior to the storm," Frantz said.

He said they expect the roads to get slushy around 3 a.m. with the worst driving conditions occurring between 9 a.m. and noon Friday.

“When it starts getting 32 degrees and colder, that brings out the worst in your car," said Mark Robison, owner of Hillside Tire in Sandy.

Robison said preventative maintenance starts with your car battery and connections. If your battery is almost five years old, you should be in the market for a new one.

He said when your car starts, the next thing to keep in mind is the quality of your windshield wipers.

“Wipers is a thing that you don’t even think about til it’s raining or snowing and you go ‘Oh! I should have replaced those!’” Robison said.

Make sure the wipers don't smear the water and salt all over your windshield. If it does, make sure you have enough washer fluid to clean it off. You can even buy washer fluid that does not freeze. Also, keeping a scraper in your car is a good idea.

Most importantly, he said, take a look at your tires.

“Make sure they’re up so you get maximum traction, maximum fuel mileage out of your car, best steering, best braking," he said. "Make sure you have good tires on your car.

You can lose five to six pounds of air in your tires simply because it is cold outside.

Robison said all-season tires will work, but - if you can afford them - snow tires are worth it.

“When that first snow comes down here this place is crazy ‘cause no one’s put ‘em on yet," he said. "So you haven’t put your snow tires on yet, if you haven’t got your car ready, now is the time to do it before the big storm hits here because every place in town is going to be packed up to their elbows with cars lined up out the door."

Above all, remember your winter driving techniques: slow down, increase your following distance, and Frantz said remember to leave an extra lane of room for plows trying to clear or treat the roads.