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Snow keeps UHP troopers busy



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PROVO CANYON -- When roads get as snowy as they were Wednesday, Utah Highway Patrol troopers know they're in for a very busy day. Troopers went from one emergency call to another, and KSL went along for the ride.

Trooper Emery Calkins said he has basically seen it all before, and each time it still amazes him.

"They just don't realize they're going too fast, and they hit some snow or ice and go off the road," Calkins said.

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Calkins spent the entire day Wednesday patrolling Provo Canyon. There was just too much going on there to go anywhere else.

"I've been on for about 7 hours and I haven't had one break; just one thing right after another," he said.

Sure enough, within two minutes of taking us into the canyon we saw our first slide-off. Calkins didn't ask the driver what caused this slide-off but figured he was most likely going too fast around a curve.

"The most common excuse is: ‘I thought I could stop and had enough room, and I didn't think i was going too fast,'" Calkins said.

Then, there's following distance.

"All the cars up there are way too close to each other," Calkins said.

He said in icy, snowy conditions, drivers should leave at least 100 feet between them and the vehicle in front of them. Most drivers we saw in the canyon had less than 25 feet between them.

"They're way too close," Calkins said. "If that work truck had to stop, he'd probably hit them."

Even drivers behind Calkins' patrol car were too close.

Calkins said most drivers know the rules. It just comes down to a personal decision as to whether those rules are followed.

We've all heard this before, but a little reminder doesn't hurt.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

Alex Cabrero

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