Snow conditions on southbound I-15, Milepost 125 north of Beaver, Utah are shown, October 23, 2022 | Image courtesy of UDOT Traffic website, St. George News
ST. GEORGE-As some desert dwellers brace for cooler temperatures, Sunday was a chilling reminder of how winter storms can instantly create dangerous conditions for drivers.
Utah Highway Patrol Private Quincy Breuer said multiple crashes were seen along I-15 near Beaver on Sunday morning, bringing traffic on snow-covered roads to a dead halt for about an hour.
“All the crashes were minor injuries, nothing major, but all cleared and traffic is back on,” Breuer said.
Although Breuer did not have details on the individual crashes, he said there were about five crashes involving semi-trucks, trucks pulling trailers and passenger vehicles.
Several additional crashes were reported after the first five, including I-15 mile posts 61 and 12 in Iron County. To see a live list of crashes, check out the UDOT Traffic Twitter Page or visit the UDOT Traffic website.
“As we drive in these winter conditions, we want to make sure our vehicles are prepared,” Breuer said. “That we have good tires, snow tires, that our wiper blades are good, increase our following distance, slow down and anticipate our movements.
Breuer also said it’s a good idea to keep water, winter clothes, food and blankets in vehicles in case people get stuck or stranded in wintry conditions.
The following recommendations on vehicle preparation and winter safety precautions have been removed from the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue website, the Center for Disease Control and the US Search and Rescue Task Force website on blizzard preparedness.
Stay in your vehicle
- Disorientation occurs quickly in snow driven by wind and cold.
- Run the engine about ten minutes per hour for heat.
- Open the window a little to get some fresh air to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked.
- Make yourself visible to rescuers.
- Turn on the dome light at night when running the engine.
- Tie a colored cloth (preferably red) to your antenna or door.
- Raise the hood indicating a problem after the snow stops falling.
- Exercise occasionally, vigorously moving your arms, legs, fingers, and toes to maintain blood circulation and warm up.
- Wear a hat, half of your body heat loss can come from your head.
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
- Mittens, snug on the wrist, are better than gloves.
- Loose, light, warm clothing in layers is best, trapped air insulates and layers can be removed to prevent sweating and subsequent chills.
- Outerwear should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
- Safely removing tires and trim from your vehicle and lighting them in an open area will create smoke to aid in locating.
Recommended supplies to keep in your vehicle in case of an emergency:
- Cellphone; portable charger and extra batteries
- windshield scraper
- Battery operated radio, extra batteries
- Flashlights, extra batteries
- Hats, coats, extra mittens, spare clothes
- Chains or rope
- tire chains
- Spare gas
- Canned compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Road salt and sand
- Jumper/jumper cables
- Emergency flares
- Brightly colored flag; help signs
- Lighter / Matches (waterproof matches and can to melt snow for water)
- First Aid Kit – (Basic first aid courses are recommended)
- Spare water
- Hi-Lift Jack
- Spare wheel with keys to lock the wheel nuts
- Spare keys
- Tow strap
- Tool kit
- Scotch tape
- Garbage bag
- Road maps
- Napkins, paper towels
The list is merely suggestions, in no particular order of priority, and should not be assumed to be complete.
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