Weekend’s windy winter storm triggers rollover in western Iron County

ST. GEORGE — A driver escaped serious injury after rolling on a slushy road during a winter storm in western Iron County Sunday afternoon.

Winter driving conditions, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Public Safety, St. George News

At 1:30 p.m. emergency personnel were dispatched to the single-vehicle rollover on state Route 56 a few miles from Beryl, Utah Highway Patrol trooper Dan Nielson said.

“With this storm, we’ve had problems with snow drifting over onto the roadway, and that included SR-56 from about mile marker 50 to 54,” Nielson said.

The driver was heading east on SR-56, and after coming over a small hill, the vehicle started sliding as it hit snow and slush. The driver lost control of the vehicle as it spun and slid sideways into the snow bank where it rolled and came to rest in an upright position.

“One witness said that it looked as though the driver was slowing down when she started sliding,” Nielson said. “Hitting the brakes may have contributed to the vehicle sliding into the snowbank.”

The driver was wearing a seat belt at the time of the rollover and suffered a laceration to her forehead, Nielson said, adding that the she declined to be transported to the hospital but may have the wound looked at by a physician on her own.

Nielson said the recent storm has continued to create problems with the high winds causing snow to drift onto the roadways, which then turns to slush and increases the risk of sliding. He said Interstate 15 from Kanarraville through Hamilton Fort and then just east of Cedar City and further into Iron County were most affected by the winter conditions.

The risk that these winter driving conditions create can be mitigated by observing the following precautions offered by the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Ice and snow, take it slow 

  •  Slow down. People driving too fast is the main cause of crashes in winter.
  •  If it’s wet, snowy or icy, drive under the speed limit, as the posted speed limit is for dry, ideal conditions.
  • Avoid quick stops, starts and turns. Accelerate slowly, brake gently and don’t turn quickly.
  • Increase following distance. Motorists need more space to safely stop when its wet, snowy and icy.
  • Use extra caution when changing lanes. Snow and slush can form ridges between lanes that can be really slippery and cause a driver to lose control. Avoid them if at all possible.
  • Coats can interfere with car seat fit. Place coats or blankets around children after the harness is snug and secure.
  • Four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive may help with traction, but they don’t help with stopping and turning. And they can create a false sense of security. Drivers still need to slow down.
  • Watch for black ice. Black ice looks more like a wet spot than a patch of ice and causes many crashes.
Black ice looks more like a wet spot than a patch of ice | Image courtesy of the Utah Department of Public Safety, St. George News
  • Bridges freeze first. Use extra caution on bridges – the road on either side may just be wet, but the bridge may be icy.
  • If the car starts skidding, ease off the gas, steer in the direction the back of the car is going.
  • Do not use cruise control. Road surfaces and conditions are constantly changing – drivers need to be in full control.
  • Always buckle up. Crash risk increases in bad weather – seat belts save lives.

This report is based on statements from police and may not contain the full scope of findings.

 

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

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