Icy roads cause flurry of accidents
Road closure gate
During extreme winter road conditions, the Wyoming Department of Transportation may close this gate on US 191 just north of the Daniel Junction blocking traffic to Bondurant and Jackson.
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
October 28, 2009
Here is an article detailing accidents in the area from the icy road conditions on Tuesday, October 27th. Deadly storm hits By Amanda H. Miller, Jackson Hole News & Guide, 10/28/09.
The Rim and Hoback Canyon on U.S. 191 north of Pinedale have been particular trouble spots recently with numerous accidents due to icy conditions.
Drivers are urged to get themselves, and their vehicles, ready for winter driving conditions.
Here are some tips:
1. If keeping abreast of travel info is important to what you do, consider signing up for the Wyoming Department of Transportation 511 travel alerts. You can pick the routes you are interested in and get them phone, e-mail or text messages. More info
2. Wear your seat belt and insist everyone in your vehicle wear theirs while the car is in motion.
3. Keep your gas tank at least half full at all times during the winter months.
4. More weight in the vehicle means better traction. Local hardware stores sell bags of sand that can be used for weight.
5. Slow down and give extra space between you and vehicles ahead of you. You need more distance and time to brake and stop on slippery roads. Be aware that approaches to intersections can get very icy due to other vehicles spinning their wheels and polishing the ice smooth, so start slowing down sooner when approaching stop signs. Before proceeding through an intersection, watch for other vehicles heading your way that may slide through their stop sign.
6. Be alert for black ice on the road, especially on bridges. Black ice is a dangerous wintertime hazard because the driver may not realize the road is icy until the car begins to slide. If your car starts to slide, take your foot off the gas pedal. Do not slam on the brakes, as this will cause you to lose control and the car to slide even more. Turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. Lightly tap the brakes to slow down and stay in control. When driving on icy roads, leave plenty of extra distance between yourself and the car ahead of you to allow for extra room to stop.
7. Do not use cruise control on snow-covered/icy roads. The posted speed limit is for ideal driving conditions. When conditions are less than optimum, drive at a speed you are comfortable with to feel in control, even if it is slower than the posted speed limit. Keep your windshield wipers in good condition and carry a good windshield scraper in your vehicle to clear your windows from snow and ice splatter from cars that may pass you.
8. Allow for extra traveling time to get to your destination to compensate for slower driving speeds under winter driving conditions. Be aware that under extreme winter storm conditions, officials may close sections of some roads in Wyoming. Around Pinedale, US 191 has a gate just north of the Daniel Junction that may be closed to prevent northbound traffic to Bondurant and through to Jackson. Gates are also located east of Farson on the road to South Pass, on US 189 south of LaBarge and Kemmerer, and at locations on Interstate 80. If the roads close around you due to storms, you may be stranded "out in the middle of nowhere." Have emergency supplies in your vehicle: blankets, warm clothes, non-perishable snack foods, water, critical medicines, cell phone, etc - whatever you and your passengers need to be comfortable for an unexpected delay. Road closures can happen where there are no motels, restaurants or other services, and you and your passengers may end up spending hours sitting or sleeping in your car until conditions improve and the roads reopen.
9. If you get stranded in snow and you cannot shovel your car out, turn on your flashing lights. Stay in your car if the weather is extremely cold or blizzard conditions. Watch for traffic or rescuers. Be alert for snow plows. If you have cell reception, dial 911 for emergency assistance. Be aware that your cell phone might route you to an emergency responder out of the county you are in, depending on which cell tower you are connecting to. Know where you are so you can accurately report your location for those trying to assist you.
Click on this link for a printable PDF with more good tips on winter driving in Wyoming: Winter Wheelin’ in Wyoming – A Cold Weather Driving Guide (7 page PDF, WYDOT)