Blinding sun leads to crashes on Parleys Way, utility pole knocked down, fire engine rear-ended

A car struck a fire engine in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Monico Garza/SLCScanner

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 20, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake City fire truck that blocked the roadway to protect a car that had a gone off the roadway due to sun in the driver’s eyes was, in turn, struck by an approaching car with a driver who was temporarily blinded by the sun.

The accident happened Thursday morning in the area of 2450 E. Parleys Way. No serious injuries resulted.

“We had a driver heading up eastbound on Parleys who had the sun in their eyes, and they went off the road and went through a power pole,” said Officer Michael Ruff, Salt Lake City Police Department.

“Subsequent to that, the fire department responded, and parked about 200 feet behind the accident — because of the sun — to give the drivers more warning, and a driver who also had the sun in their eyes ran into the back of the fire engine.”

Ruff said dirty windshields limit visibility.

“The best thing that we would suggest is making sure you have your windshield clean, scraped from ice and snow, so make sure its clean from ice and snow, but also make sure its clean,” Ruff said. “A dirty windshield in the sun makes it hard to see. Also, slow down.”

Sunrise tends to happen every day at about the same time, Ruff said, so drivers need to be aware when the sun will be limiting visibility.

“That sun’s coming up and you know what time the sun comes up in the morning, make sure you slow down, pay a little attention,” Ruff said. “It does make it harder to see. gives you less reaction time.”

Ruff said it’s unlikely major tickets will be issued.

“It looks like just two people who had the sun in their eyes, got distracted and one went off the road and the other went into the back of a fire truck.”

The fire engine sustained significant damages, Ruff said.

“It will take some repairs, but they were able to drive it away back to our shop,” he said, adding that drivers should be aware that emergency vehicles will block the road when needed.

“We will use our vehicles to try and block lanes, and keep officers from getting hit,” he said. “We would rather our vehicle get hit than a person, so we will use it to protect us. We will use it t protect cars, to protect other people on scene. So they are going to be on travel lanes, so expect that.”



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