SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – The weather caught many drivers by surprise leading to traffic jams, road closures and several accidents all throughout the valley.
“We had so many calls today that highway patrol was calling troopers out from home so they could respond out here and handle crashes,” said Trooper Evan Kirby with Utah Highway Patrol.
Crashes like one at southbound I-15 and 10th N. which quickly became two. Officers had responded to a car accident when a white SUV approaching the scene quickly lost control of their vehicle, swerved and hit another car before sliding right between the first accident, before going off and into a ravine.
“It’s an early season storm and sometimes those take us a little bit by surprise with people learning to drive again, and we haven’t had to drive again in these types of conditions in quite a while,” added John Gleason, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Transportation.
UDOT had been expecting these conditions and had their crews working last night to clear the roads for drivers, still many underestimated the power of this light snow hitting the valley.
Though we’ve seen light flurries throughout the day they created a serious hazard on the road. With the low temperatures, the moisture quickly stuck to the ground creating slick icy conditions.
Several accidents occurred all along the I-15 like at northbound I-15 and 119 S. and at southbound I-15 and 66th S.
“We had multiple crashes in the area,” said trooper Kirby, “In fact a trooper had responded for a rollover crash while he was there on that rollover, another vehicle spun out and hit his vehicle,” he said.
Fortunately, the trooper was OK but I-15 had to be shut down for some time. The icy weather created more problems at Provo Canyon that caused a tanker to tip over, creating a traffic jam and a big mess.
“The front tanker was ruptured spilling crude oil, about 4,500 gallons, most of which was spilled out,” said Trooper Kirby.
The crude oil spilled into the Provo River but crews were able to get to the spillage promptly, as the cold weather had prevented the oil from dispersing quickly.
Our ABC4 News dash cams also captured several accidents throughout the valley. UDOT and UHP are asking drivers to pull off the road as soon as possible if you’re in an accident.
As conditions are expected to continue throughout the night, exercise extreme caution while out on the road, drive for the conditions, and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
As travelers return from their holiday vacations, and more vehicles are out on the road tomorrow, it’s always a good reminder to be careful out there.
“We’re asking everyone really to slow down and drive with caution,” says Gleason.