Unsafe Section of Utah’s I-15 Has Motorists Concerned

A few miles north of Brigham City, between Corrine and Honeyville, a 7-mile stretch of I-15 has blown apart, leaving pockets of potholes in its wake. According to KSL News, the highway repair job in this area, that should have been taken care of during the summer of 2016, was put off due to budget constraints. Instead of properly repairing the highway, the Utah Department of Transportation authorized that this section be covered with a one-inch layer of asphalt, until they can get to it later in 2017. According to spokesman Vic Saunders: “We have a one-inch surface on top of the original pavement that is coming out in chunks about a foot long and maybe five and six inches wide.” What a mess!

One of the readers, Sciencenerd, who commented on the KSL story, wrote:

“One inch deep is really pushing it. I drive it regularly and there is a huge hole in the right lane heading north. I thought I blew a tire a few days ago. I was fine but there were two cars pulled over down the road within a mile. I can’t say for sure it was a blown tire but the odds are very high. My estimate is that there are over 100 holes in that 8 mile stretch with a handful being much deeper than one inch. Six months is way to long to wait to fix it.”

Another reader, Darcymae, thinks that many are blowing the highway problem out of proportion: “What a bunch of whiners! That section of road isn’t great but I wouldn’t say it’s dangerous. Like they said, it’s 1″ deep holes, not deep dangerous potholes we’re talking about! It wasn’t damaged before these last few snow storms so why would they have repaired it last year. And they can’t fix it in the middle of winter! We’ll all have to be patient. Apparently that’s difficult for some of us.”

Addressing the get-over-it group of readers, Jen33 wrote: “Please tell me when the last time was that you drove it.. because I drive it a couple times a week and it is as bad as people are saying or worse! And if you haven’t heard, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Call it whining but obviously you don’t know how bad it really is. And it needs to be fixed right, not the cheapest way possible.”

After reading the story and the comments, my take is that UDOT needs to:

1. Try and patch the holes the best they can, knowing that permanent fixes will have to wait until it’s warmer;

2. Put up warning signs, including illuminated signs, that warn of the road hazards and the need to slow down;

3. Reduce the speed limit to something like 50-60 so motorists can scout ahead for the hazards and avoid them.

4. I know it’s costly, but they should also put a UHP trooper or two on patrol in this area to raise awareness of the hazards and to enforce the slower speed limit.

At any rate, the state is now definitely on notice that a hazardous road condition exists and could potentially be held responsible if its response to this notice is seen as ineffective or unreasonable. Hopefully, everyone can navigate this section of the road safely so there will be no crashes to blog about!

Six Tips for Getting Your Car Unstuck from the Snow

Wintry conditions can make Utah roads very treacherous. Salt Lake City receives an average of 47 inches of snowfall each year, according to the U.S. government climate data center. It is important to slow down when driving during winter weather conditions. If your vehicle is equipped with winter tires, then it should have better traction on slick roads. The rubber in winter tires is designed to remain flexible in cold temperatures, which improves the tires’ grip.  Of course, you can have your car well prepared and drive cautiously and still slide off the road.

Getting stuck in the snow is an issue that many Utah drivers have faced at some point. To assist drivers whose car is stuck in the snow, our firm has provided six tips for getting it out.

How to Get Your Car Unstuck in the Snow

  • Remain Calm

If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow, you need to remain calm. Panicking will only make things worse. You need to relax and think clearly so that you can assess the situation and determine how to get your vehicle out in a safe manner.

  • Do Not Spin the Tires

When a car is stuck in the snow, the tires may lose traction. If your tires are spinning, take your foot off of the gas pedal. Spinning tires will only dig deeper into the snow. You will not be able to drive your car out until you can get more traction. Try releasing some air from the rear tires to increase the amount of tire in contact with the road surface. Deflating your tires slightly may provide the traction you need to get unstuck. Remember to re-inflate your tires to the specified pressure as soon as possible.

  • Put the Vehicle in Low Gear

A method to increase traction is to put the vehicle in the lowest gear possible. If your vehicle has a winter mode, use that gear setting. Even if your car has an automatic transmission, there will typically be a ‘low gear’ available. Shift your car into low gear, make sure the tires are pointed straight ahead and press gently on the gas pedal to try to move it out of the snow. Resist the urge to slam on the gas pedal. Pressing the gas pedal too quickly or too strongly will only spin your tires again and send you back deeper into the snow.

  • Slowly Rock Your Car Back and Forth

Another method that can be used to gain traction is slowly rocking your car back and forth. This is done by putting the car into drive, pushing the gas pedal lightly and then shifting the car into reverse and doing the same thing. A slow rocking motion can often allow your car to gain just enough momentum and traction to get itself out of the snow.

  • Find an Outside Source of Traction

When rocking does not work, you may have to find another way to increase the traction. Sometimes this can be done by digging and removing the snow from around the tires. You may need to supply traction from an outside source. Some examples of products that can be used to increase traction are sand, gravel, kitty litter and wood chips. It is good idea to carry a bag of cat litter or sand in the trunk of your car during the winter to spread under your tires if you get stuck.

  • Get Help

Keep in mind that it is not always possible to get your car out of the snow on your own. If you are stuck, you may need to call for help. You do not want to risk an injury of any kind.  If you cannot get your car out, please call a friend or a roadside assistance company. Wait in the vehicle until help arrives. Check to make sure your car’s exhaust pipe is free of snow to prevent carbon monoxide from backing up into the passenger compartment. Towing your car out might be the only way to get it unstuck.

Were You Injured in a Winter Weather Accident?

Even when you drive cautiously, you cannot prevent other drivers from driving carelessly and causing crashes on snow covered roads. The experienced Utah personal injury lawyers at the Kramer Law Group are ready to help if you have been injured in a crash caused by another driver. To request a free review of your case, please contact our West Jordan office today. Our team serves victims throughout the state, including Park City, Provo, Sandy and Ogden.