SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – If you were caught in this week’s snow squall- there’s a good chance you were wishing for traffic lines that were lit up as the weather conditions made it nearly impossible to see your lane clearly. Well, it turns out that’s something the state is working on. In fact, there are multiple projects underway to address the issue.    

“You pretty much just kind of have to pray that the person in front of you knows where they’re going,” Washington Terrace resident Ethan Gerena told ABC4. Like many Utahns Gerena hates driving during any kind of storm.   

“Right as I got my license at 18, I realized — I kind of noticed — it was a big issue,” Gerena stated. “If there was any sort of rain or snow, especially on the ground, you had pretty much no idea where you were traveling.”  

The issue? Hard-to-see lane stripes.  

“First and foremost, all of our lane markings are reflective,” UDOT spokesperson John Gleason said. Gleason explained that while the paint used on all road markings across the state is reflective, adding something like water onto the asphalt makes the entire road reflective making it very hard to see lane stripes. Gleason explained that UDOT is working to address that problem because “it becomes a safety issue if you can’t see the striping.”  

Utah Governor Spencer Cox frequently uses his social media accounts to address these concerns. In a recent series of tweets, he said road safety is a top priority for the state. He added: “…As hard as our crews work to maintain lane markings, weather and snow plowing just destroys reflective paint. But with advances in materials and methods, we are finally making progress!”  

Gleason agrees that progress is being made. He said, “We’re making advances in methods and materials all the time and we’re sharing notes with other states that have similar challenges.”   

Many streets like Washington Blvd. in Ogden have light-colored asphalt. This makes it even harder to see road markings when conditions are wet. In many areas that face this same problem, the state has implemented two-tone striping. This is something you may have seen. UDOT outlines the white striping with black paint. This helps make the white paint pop.  

“We compare notes with other states, we work with companies that are always making advances, so I think there’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” Gleason told ABC4.   

This year, UDOT will kick off a $26-million project to improve markings on all major highways along the Wasatch Front. This project is set to kick off this spring.  

UDOT is also one year into a three-year test project in which 100 different materials have been implemented on a stretch of highway. Over the three years, UDOT will monitor how these materials wear and tear under normal use. The most successful materials may then be used in new striping.   

Last year, Utah lawmakers also approved an additional $3-million for UDOT’s annual budget for the upkeep of existing road markings.

Until then that happens, one Utah driver has advice for other drivers. “You’ll always catch me in the right-most lane going 10 or 15 under in any sort of weather like that,” Gerena stated.