LAYTON -- When snow falls in the Top of Utah, the Utah Department of Transportation says to shovel in, not out.
The calendar says it's officially winter, and in a region that typically sees 25 to 40 snowstorms every year, transportation officials say removing snow from sidewalks and driveways and putting it onto the road has become as much of a winter tradition as skiing or sledding.
"People throwing snow into the road is a problem for us every winter," said UDOT Region One spokesman Vic Saunders.
"It seems kind of harmless because people think, 'Oh, the plow will come by and get it,' but that's not always the case."
When clearing driveways, sidewalks or business parking lots, property owners should store snow on their own property and not out onto the roads, Saunders said.
"During a snowstorm, the snow falls pretty much evenly, but when you throw it out onto the street from one area, you get mounds that build up, and that can cause damage to our plows and other cars."
The mounds create a safety hazard, UDOT says.
"Putting snow on the roads after they have been cleared creates a safety hazard for other motorists and makes it more difficult for our snowplows to keep the roads clear and driveable," said UDOT Region One Director Cory Pope.
Pope said state law prohibits shoveling or blowing snow into roads because it creates obstructions that can freeze and endanger motorists, emergency responders, law enforcement officers and highway maintenance crews.
Saunders said interstate routes and urban arterial streets are cleared first, followed by collector streets.
"Based on the priority, we may hit a road and not be back for a while," he said, "so if people are blowing snow out into the street after we've plowed, it may be there for a while."
Saunders said snow-removal violators usually aren't out to cause trouble, but that doesn't make it any less of a problem.
"We create some angst when we plow and snow gets stacked up in people's driveways, but that's something we can't avoid. We'd have to stop at every driveway and we'd never finish plowing."
Regarding snow being thrown in streets, he said, "we understand why people do it, but it's a lot safer and easier for us when they don't."