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Officials warn drivers to prepare for snow

By Mike Anderson | Posted - Oct. 5, 2011 at 6:01 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY -- As a new storm front makes its way through Utah, many communities around the state are being hit hard by rain. But meteorologists are warning of an early season snow storm to hit sometime this week.

While snow isn't anything residents of Utah are unfamiliar with, state officials are preparing to get the snow cleared up as fast as possible to help ease traffic congestion. Additionally, officials are warning those who plan to drive northern Utah canyons in the next week to be mentally prepared for the first snowy roads of the season.

Employees at Summit County Public Works are prepared for the storm, hauling in nearly 100 tons of salt for the upcoming winter season. And much of the salt has already been loaded up into the county's eight snow plows.

Equipment Manager Cade Willoughby of Summit County Public Works is working to make sure each of the trucks is up and running before the first snow storm of the season.

Tips for driving in snow:
  • Clear snow from windows and lights
  • Keep a safe distance away from other vehicles
  • Know road conditions before you travel
  • Use brakes carefully
  • Don't use cruise control
  • Slow down
  • Winterize your vehicle

"We can work all through the night to early in the morning to make sure the roads are safe," Willoughby said.

But Willoughby said the bigger challenge will be for drivers on the road who have to make that adjustment to more winter-like conditions.

"Once some snow gets there, it doesn't take a lot to lose traction," he described. "A lot of that grip loses in your tires and the road surface."

And while it is a bit early for a major snow storm, Summit County workers say they don't expect to be caught off guard.

"We won't get out big trucks until later in November," Willoughby said. "I would say it's fairly early to start expecting, especially the amounts that the weather people have talked about."

Once the time comes for a heavy snowfall, the plow drivers expect to be working long, sometimes odd hours to clear Utah roads. But because of Summit County regulations, plow drivers are not allowed to be on the roads between the hours of 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.



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