There has been considerable comment on the number of accidents on Salt Lake City streets on Sept. 25. On one newscast, a state trooper expressed the opinion that people were driving in the same fashion as they would in fine weather, rather than slowing down and paying attention to rainy conditions and slick roads. He is doubtlessly right, but there is another factor to take into account.
On Sept. 24, returning from a performance of the Utah Symphony, our road home took us on I-15 south and I-80 east to reach the offramp at Foothill and Parleys Way. Since moving here last April, this was my first experience of taking this route both at night and in heavy rain conditions.
Two problems were obvious: Under these circumstances, the dashed lines separating lanes on I-80 were almost invisible, and there are no reflectors embedded in the roadway to make up for that. With people rushing by at 70 MPH or more, this was unpleasant and dangerous, to say the least. It was also then that I realized that this was an urban freeway (entirely within built-up areas) with absolutely no lighting, something I have never previously encountered in any of the major cities I have lived in worldwide.
In good weather it is not as much of an issue, but in rain (and surely also in snow) conditions, this is asking for trouble. If the city and UDOT would take this issue into serious consideration, it would surely reduce the number of accidents, even if many will continue to drive to the general detriment of others.
Henry M. Lieberman
Salt Lake City