Snow-related crashes in Utah doubled this year. Here’s where most wrecks happen.

Utah state roads and highways have seen 3,915 crashes in “adverse” snow conditions so far this year.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Snowplows clear Interstate 80 on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Utah state roads and highways have experienced more than 3,900 crashes in “adverse” snow conditions so far this year.

Crashes during snowy weather on Utah state roads and highways have more than doubled so far this year, when compared to this time last year or 2021, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety.

Last year, 1,925 crashes were recorded on state roadways during “adverse” snow conditions between Jan. 1 and April 3.

In 2021, the amount of similar crashes for the same time period was 1,353. So far this year, DPS has recorded 3,915 such wrecks — in part because the state has seen more snow.

Most of these crashes occurred on Interstate 15, and every year, many of these crashes were speed-related, according to DPS data as of April 4.

Slowing down is the best thing a driver can do to stay safe during snowy weather, according to the Utah Department of Transportation. So far this year, about 2,153 crashes that occurred during snowy weather were speed-related.

I-15 in particular sees “so much more traffic volume each day” compared to other roads, UDOT spokesperson John Gleason said. In Salt Lake County alone, stretches of I-15 see upward of 300,000 vehicles per day.

“But there’s also a false sense of security that comes with traveling on I-15,” Gleason continued. “You can be driving on what appear to be clear roads in one area, and then think that you’re going to be driving on clear roads throughout.”

In 2021 and 2022, the top roadways for winter-weather crashes were I-15, Interstate 80, and Interstate 215. Those three routes accounted for about 40% and 42% of crashes in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Of this year’s 3,915 crashes, about 71% did not specify the route where the crash occurred. However, out of the remaining 1,142 crashes, 41% occurred on I-15. And of the 471 crashes that occurred on I-15, 251 occurred in either Salt Lake or Utah County.

During snowy conditions, traffic officials keep a particularly close eye on I-80 in Parleys Canyon.

“That’s a very typical trouble spot for people as they’re driving through there, because it experiences some of the most severe weather,” Gleason said.

Drivers who get into a crash because of snow or ice on a freeway should do their best to maneuver their vehicle to the next exit — so they can be sure they’re in a safe spot to assess any damage — and contact the proper authorities.

That’s better than pulling off onto the shoulder, Gleason said, because if your car slipped on a patch of ice or snow, it’s likely other vehicles will as well. Even relatively minor crashes can quickly compound in winter weather.

“We just always talk about the importance of trying to get off the road if you can, especially in a snowstorm,” Gleason said. “If you can’t get off the road, then stay in your vehicle with your seatbelt fastened, call 911 — it is an emergency.”