UTAH (ABC4) – With Mother Nature dropping a healthy amount of snow across the state, ABC4 wanted to see firsthand how emergency responders handle incidents on the roads during a big storm.
Corporal Tara Wahlberg of Utah Highway Patrol says when it’s a snow day “you check on and let dispatch know where you’re coming from.” Wahlberg tells ABC4 when big weather is involved, sometimes troopers get called in early before their normal shift starts.
For Corporal Wahlberg, her shift began Wednesday morning at 5 am. Much of the morning consisted of monitoring incidents throughout Salt Lake County, her assigned area for the day and responding to the scene.
“You basically just keep your eyes peeled for vehicles off and crashes then stop along the way,” Corporal Wahlberg tells ABC4.
As with any major storm, highway officials urge drivers to decrease their speed, especially in treacherous conditions like Wednesday morning. But not all drivers do this, Wahlberg explains as she was responding to one vehicle stuck in the snow another vehicle passed by at an alarming rate of speed considering the slippery conditions.
“My rear radar picked up someone going 70mph on I-80 and it was snow-packed roads,” Corporal Wahlberg tells ABC4.
Because of the massive snowfall, UHP says today they’ve responded to over 150 crashes statewide, troopers also helped over 500 vehicles who may have either been stuck in snow or spun out on the highway, with many incidents beginning Tuesday night.
“It was around 8 pm when it got busy, and we called our day troopers out early,” says Corporal Wahlberg.
At one point during ABC4’s ride-along, we witnessed UHP working to rescue one man’s car that was stuck in the snow. Ultimately a call was placed into Incident Management who was able to safely pull the vehicle out.
But with more storms on the way, Wahlberg tells ABC4 these incidents are just another reminder for drivers to make sure they are extra prepared for slick conditions on the roads after a wet heavy snowstorm. And to not put your car through more than it can handle.
“We live in Utah and we get snow every winter if you can afford snow tires, definitely get them,” says Corporal Wahlberg.
Public safety officials say the ulimate goal is to ensure the safety of Utah’s drivers and emergency responders.