Utah Sandstorm Obscures Vision, Leading to 22-Car Pileup and 8 Deaths

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A sandstorm-induced accident involving 22 vehicles killed eight people and injured 10 others on Sunday, July 25, near Kanosh, Utah. The accident occurred on Interstate 15 just outside of town on a state holiday weekend, reported The Associated Press.
A Welcome to Utah road sign in a desert
A sandstorm-induced accident involving 22 vehicles killed eight people and injured 10 others July 25 in Utah.

Sandstorm causes holiday weekend accident in Utah

Many families took to the road the weekend of the 25th to celebrate Utah’s history. The state holiday honors the religious beginnings of Utah, which was settled by members from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to obtain religious freedom.
Police shut down part of Interstate 15 and redirected traffic to reduce injuries and enable rescue efforts. Emergency responders transported accident victims in ground ambulances. At least 10 people were reportedly taken to hospitals, including three in critical condition. Of the eight who perished in the sandstorm accident, four were children, the Utah Highway Patrol said.
According to the Utah Highway Patrol, a vehicle with an attached trailer complicated the accident, overturning and strewing its contents across the Interstate.
“We have vehicles all over. Several vehicles tried to swerve off the roadway. We have vehicles that are flipped up on their sides. One of the vehicles that was pulling a trailer, the trailer has pretty much completely been destroyed and is on the freeway,” Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Rhoden said, according to The Associated Press.

What is a sandstorm?

According to All Things Nature, the term sandstorm refers to a meteorological description of high winds in the desert that lifts the uppermost layer of sandy topsoil off of the ground and blow it, typically in a wall formation. The winds lift and carry the sand and the sand wall can reach a height of between 10 and 50 feet. The wind speed decides the sandstorm height.
Emergency management personnel recommend staying indoors during a sandstorm or when conditions could spawn one. Trying to navigate during a sandstorm creates significant danger, since the sand creates a severe obstruction.
If you do need to go outside during a sandstorm, wear protective eyewear such as goggles and a handkerchief to cover your nose and mouth.
If you are driving while a sandstorm develops, pull off the road and wait it out. You remain safer when parked on the road’s shoulder since sand entering the vehicle’s engine can cause it to fail. The sand will obscure your ability to see other cars on the road and for them to see you.
Sandstorms commonly occur in U.S. states with deserts, such as Utah, Arizona, and California. They occur annually, a part of the climate and topography of those states.
In Oklahoma, you could experience a salt storm in The Great Salt Plains, a desert-like area in the north-central area of the state. Instead of sand for topsoil, the area has salt, states the Oklahoma Historical Society. High winds in that area of Oklahoma can cause what appears to be a sandstorm but is made of salt. The corrosive nature of salt can damage a vehicle more than sand.

Make sure you have the right car insurance

Whether you live in Utah or not, you can protect your vehicle and family with car insurance. A policy that includes comprehensive coverage covers damage from natural hazards, such as sandstorm-related damage.
Rather than count on the other drivers purchasing the right amount of bodily injury and property liability coverage, you can protect yourself by also purchasing personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. While your state may require less insurance, unless you carry full coverage, you won’t fully protect yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle as well as the others on the road.
If you need help finding the most affordable coverage, Jerry can help. The app compares quotes from up to 45 different insurance companies for you in under a minute, without any long forms to fill out.

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