As a driver in Utah, you are going to experience all kinds of road conditions.
You name it.
But how do you drive safely through it all?
That’s what we’re going to look at here.
In this article, we’ll go over the Utah road conditions and give you safe driving tips for each one.
So let’s hop right into it!
The Safe Driving Tips for 10 Utah Road Conditions
We’re going to look at the safe driving tips for these 10 Utah road conditions:
- Highway work zones
- Rural roads
- Natural disasters
- Extreme hot weather
- Railroad crossings
- Submerged vehicles
How to Drive Safely at Night
Driving at night is more challenging than driving during the day.
This is because visibility is lower.
Plus, the glare of other cars’ headlights can cause momentary blindness.
Extra caution is needed to see the roads better.
Here are some safe driving tips at night:
- Turn on your headlights half an hour before sunset and half an hour after sunrise. This is actually a state law.
- Use high beams when there are no other vehicles on the road. High beams allow you to see further.
- If there is a car driving towards you, dim your lights when it reaches 500 feet from you.
- Use low beams or dim your lights if you are 300 feet from the vehicle in front of you.
- If an oncoming vehicle has high beams turned on, do not look directly at the light. Look at the right side of the road to avoid the glare.
- Keep an eye out for dark shapes on the road and avoid them as much as possible. These are usually pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
- Even with headlights on, try to look farther from what it’s illuminating.
How to Drive Safely in Highway Work Zones
There are times when work zones are set up along highways.
These areas are usually indicated by orange reflector lights that show warning signs and traffic control devices.
Follow these tips when you’re approaching a highway work zone:
- Pay attention to the road signs on where you should go.
- Always follow the direction of a flagger. Stop when they tell you to stop, go when they tell you to go, slow down when they tell you to slow down, and go in the direction they’re pointing to.
- Slow down and give way to merging vehicles.
- When driving at night, be extra careful and look out for workers and construction vehicles.
How to Drive Safely on Rural Roads
Rural roads may be less traffic, but that doesn’t mean it’s much safer.
Here are some rural road conditions that you may face:
- Roads made from gravel and dirt — slow down so you don’t lose traction.
- Narrow roads — slow down and keep your vehicle at the center of the road.
- Narrow bridges and single-lane bridges — give the right-of-way to the driver that enters the bridge first.
- Open bridge gratings or steel bridges — keep a firm grip on your steering wheel and strictly stay within the road.
- Uncontrolled intersections — slow down as you approach the intersection. The first vehicle that enters the intersection gets the right of way.
How to Drive Safely During Winter
If there’s one season that is the hardest to drive in, it’s definitely winter.
The roads are VERY slippery.
There’s always a chance that there’s invisible ice on the road.
So if you’re driving in this Utah road condition, always take these safety precautions:
- Slow down — this goes without saying. Slowing down makes it less likely for your vehicle to hydroplane.
- Change your tires to winter tires before the first snowfall. This will give your vehicle that extra grip it needs.
- Check if your brakes and tires are in good condition. Do this before going out.
- Tune in to the weather forecast to know if it’s safe to drive outside. If there are snowstorms, do not attempt to drive.
- Before driving, clear your vehicle of ice or snow. This will improve visibility.
- Pack a survival kit that includes a shovel, flashlight, compass, first aid kit, and an ice scraper.
- If you get stranded, do not leave your vehicle unless you know where you’re going. Turn on your hazard warning lights and try your best to attract attention.
- Also, if stranded, run the engine and heater until the vehicle is warm enough for you. Turn it off after and repeat the process once you feel cold. Do this as long as you have gas left.
How to Drive Safely in Natural Disasters
Natural disasters can happen anytime.
And it’s good to be prepared for them.
Here’s what to do in certain natural disasters:
- Tornados — Leave your vehicle and run to a sturdy shelter or drive as fast as you can away from the tornado’s path. Do not stay in your vehicle if the tornado is near.
- Lightning — Close all your doors and windows during a lightning storm. Do not touch any metal surfaces and do not use radios connected to an external antenna. Try to drive towards a well-constructed structure.
- Floods — Avoid driving through flooded areas. If you see a flooded road, immediately look for another route. If you’re driving at night, be extra cautious as the water may look shallow, but in reality, it’s already deep.
Remember, 2 feet of moving water can already sweep vehicles. So it’s best to seek higher ground if you find yourself in a flood.
How to Drive Safely in Very Hot Weather
During the summer season, you have to pay attention to these car parts:
- Tires – make sure that they have the right air pressure. Inspect them every 100 miles you drive to make sure that the air pressure is still good.
- Engine oil – there should be enough oil before you set out to drive in the heat. The engine oil keeps the engine cool.
- Engine coolant – check if there is enough water and antifreeze so that your engine’s cooling system will work well.
When you’re driving, keep in mind these tips:
- Avoid speeding to prevent overheating.
- Watch out for tar on the road. Tar can be slippery, so try to avoid it or pass it slowly so you don’t skid.
If you’re driving in a desert, there are other things you need to know:
- Do not try to drive in the heat if you’re not used to high temperatures. Always stay on the freeways and keep your air conditioning on.
- Always bring both drinking water and water for your vehicle’s radiator.
- Stay with your vehicle if it breaks down in the desert. Do not leave it or wander away since this will make you less visible to anyone that might be able to help.
How to Drive Safely in Mountains
Driving on mountains poses a lot of hazards simply because the roads are steep, there’s wildlife, and the weather changes frequently.
If you’re driving on a mountain, keep these safe driving tips in mind:
- If using a manual transmission, lower your gears if you are driving up a steep slope.
- When going down, gravity affects your speed, so don’t step on the gas. Always be ready to brake, but do so slowly.
- If your vehicle is struggling to climb a steep hill, pull off the side of the road and let other vehicles pass.
- Be alert for warning signs, curves, and blind spots. Do not pass on curves as you can’t see oncoming traffic.
- Stay close to the right edge of the road so you are far from the oncoming traffic.
- Honk your horn if you are approaching a sharp curve. This will notify any oncoming traffic of your presence.
How to Drive Safely with Wildlife
Here are some safety tips to avoid colliding with wildlife:
- Look out for animal crossing warning signs. This gives you an idea that wildlife is mostly present in the area.
- Observe your surroundings. Look for animals that might end up crossing.
- When there are animals on the road, do not honk. This might cause the animal to panic. Instead, you can go out of your vehicle and shoo them away.
- If you’re passing through residential areas, be on the watch for dogs and cats that might cross.
- Do not swerve to avoid an animal. Instead, let the animal pass before proceeding.
How to Drive Safely in Railroad Crossings
Railroad crossings are marked with warning signs so you can know of them even from afar.
As a driver, your job is to follow the rules when you’re in these areas. The rules are:
- Do not park closer than 50 feet from a railroad crossing unless local signs state otherwise.
- If you see the flashing lights turned on, you’re required to stop right in front of the gates. If there are no gates, stop a few feet from the tracks.
- If there are no lights or signs, try to listen if a train is approaching. If you can hear one, stop and wait for it to pass.
- Never attempt to beat a train. Trains are faster than you think. If you see them from afar, it will only take a few seconds for them to reach you.
- Remain stopped until the gates are raised or when the train is out of sight.
What to Do When Your Vehicle is Submerged Underwater
This is not so much a Utah road condition.
However, you may find yourself in this situation — your vehicle is suddenly submerged underwater.
Here is what to do:
- Stay calm. Once you panic, you will not get anywhere.
- Get out of the vehicle right away. Your car will only float for 30-60 seconds, so make sure you get out of there quickly.
- Remove your seat belt, lower or smash the window, and climb to the top of your vehicle.
- Before swimming, assess where the current is flowing.
- If your vehicle is sinking fast and you’re still inside, remove heavy clothing that will make swimming difficult. Keep your shoes on.
- Try to kick a door or a window that is the least submerged.
Yes, there are so many different Utah road conditions that you’ll face.
This is why it’s important to know how to safely drive through them all.
And with these tips, you can avoid collisions, skidding, and accidents on the road.
Be a safe driver!