SLOW DOWN: Poor road conditions contribute to over 100 crashes within 24 hours, says UHP

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Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol

(ABC4) – ABC4 Meteorologist Cesar Cornejo might be psychic.

When predicting how the bomb cyclone that passed through the state on Monday evening might affect the lives of residents around the state, Cornejo offered a prediction that turned out to be quite prescient.

“It’s definitely going to be an inconvenience…Imagine, rush hour already slows down traffic. Accidents will just continue to pile up,” he stated as the rain began to fall in the afternoon.

As it turned out, the accidents did pile up.

A Facebook post by the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) confirmed Cornejo’s forecasting after the rain had settled on Tuesday morning. According to the post, dated at approximately 9 a.m., 118 crashes had occurred around the state in the previous 24 hours.

UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden tells that many of the crashes that took place over the recent stretch had much to do with the road conditions that came as a result of the weather and drivers’ inability to adjust to the wet and slick roads.

“A lot of the crashes that we’re seeing are people that are not adjusting their driving habits to the conditions,” Roden states. “So we encourage people to slow down a little bit and give yourself that extra following distance so that you have time to react.”

For the most part, the crashes that have popped up around the state have come due to the driver at fault either following too close to another vehicle or traveling too fast for the conditions, rendering themselves unable to react and complete a stop before reaching a pause in traffic or a hazard in the road.

You might notice in the Facebook post made by the UHP, 10 tips are provided to remind drivers of how to respond to slick road conditions. Of those 10 pointers, four of them are the same: Slow down. Reducing speed to allow for a proper reaction or stop to any hazards that may arise while the roads are wet is a key point of emphasis for the public, Roden says.

“Speed is definitely one of our biggest problems that we see continually and consistently, where people just don’t slow down to the conditions which ultimately causes an accident,” he shares.

Other factors are coming into play as well as the season change, including the onset of darkness earlier in the night due to Daylight Savings Time. The reduced visibility, along with poor road conditions, can equate to more accidents, especially involving those who are looking to cross the street or wander into a dangerous situation.

“Especially in auto-pedestrian crashes, we usually see kind of spike towards the end of the year,” Roden states. “Because with the decreased visibility, they’re harder to see.”

With even more precipitation expected in what could be one of the wettest Utah falls on record, UHP is planning on issuing more and more tips to drivers in wet conditions. Even if they have to say it four times for every 10 reminders, asking drivers to slow down will be a repeated theme in the weeks ahead.

“The more we can get the word out of the things that we’re seeing, the more that people know how to adjust their behaviors and reduce those crashes,” Roden says.

As for future predictions such as who will win the World Series, Cornejo, a noted baseball fan, may not have a total lock. His favorite team, the Washington Nationals, aren’t in the mix, so he’s not as interested.

However, when it comes to the weather and how it will impact Utahns in their day-to-day lives, he and the rest of the ABC4 Pinpoint Weather team, the most accurate forecasters in the state for the past decade, are practically fortune tellers.

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