WASHINGTON COUNTY – In a span of two and a half hours, ice on Interstate 15 Friday morning spurred five single-vehicle crashes – two of which were rollovers – and four slide-offs.
The slick road misfortunes occurred on the Black Ridge between mileposts 36 and 42, and between the hours of 6-8:30 a.m., Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jake Hicks said.
While it wasn’t snowing, the roads were wet and icy, he said, adding that unsuspecting motorists were hitting the slush and ice, and then sliding off the road.
“It can be a little deceiving for people because the roads may just look wet, but it’s so cold up here that it’s slowly turning to ice,” Hicks said. “They’re going a little too fast and if they hit their brakes too hard, they hit their gas too hard or they steer too hard, they’ll lose traction and slide off.”
Among the crashes was a Dodge Ram truck that slid off the road and hit a concrete barrier before ending up on top of it.
“It pretty much tore off the whole left tire and damaged the undercarriage,” Hicks said. “He hit it and went up on top of the barrier and slid for another 75 yards on top of the barrier, so he had quite the wild ride.”
Luckily, Hicks said, the driver of the truck had his seat belt on at the time of the crash.
“He told me how thankful he was to have had it on because he would have been thrown around inside that truck,” he said. “You know, he would have lived, but he would have been hurt and since he had his seat belt on, he didn’t get hurt at all – and that was a pretty good crash.”
Responders spent about an hour and a half trying to get the truck off the barrier and towed from the scene.
Slow down and buckle up
“We noticed people were not really slowing down,” he said. “In fact, on one of our crash scenes, we had a Chevy Cruze come by at 90 mph right past a crash.”
When roads are slick from water or ice, Hicks said motorists should slow down, wear a seat belt and avoid “heavy breaking” and “too much steering.” He also said to be sure cruise control is set to off.
“The driver of that truck was using cruise control and you don’t want to use cruise control with wet roads, snowy roads or where there could be ice,” he said, “because it just goes very bad.”
If a motorist does slide off the road, Hicks said they should call 911 and then get to the safest place to be.
“If they crashed in that location,” he said, “it’s likely that another car will crash in that location, and so they need to find a way to protect themselves.”
Sometimes the safest place to be, he said, is to stand behind a cable rail or barrier of some kind.
“Generally, we suggest staying in the vehicle with their seat belt on and if that’s not doable or reasonable then it’s OK to get out of your car and find somewhere safer,” Hicks said. “For example, that crash that I went to with the truck on the barrier, he got out of the truck and stood in between the two barriers – the southbound and northbound barriers – and so he actually had a lot of protection there.”
Luckily, no injuries were reported as a result of the Friday morning crashes or slide-offs.
This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings.
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