Troopers Ask Drivers To Slow Down, Move Over After ‘Horrendous’ Holiday Weekend
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Crashes over the holiday weekend were off the charts and Utah Highway Patrol troopers are asking for help as they face vehicle shortages and safety issues.
With roads clear Monday night, it was hard to believe how disastrous the roads were Thanksgiving week. However, while some people over Thanksgiving forgot about counting calories, UHP troopers were counting wrecks.
“You have to drive for a speed appropriate for the roadway,” said Sergeant Nick Street with the Utah Highway Patrol.
It seems like a pretty straight forward statement, but Street said people just aren’t slowing down.
From Wednesday, Nov 27, to Sunday, Dec. 1, there were 598 crashes – the majority of those happening along the Wasatch Front.
“People are just overconfident and that overconfidence bit about 600 people this last snowstorm,” Street said.
According to UHP, 10 trooper vehicles were struck by cars just going too fast for the weather.
“Sadly, people were quick to tell us the roads weren’t cleared and so it wasn’t their fault,” Street said. “When the roads are slick, that’s not how it works.”
Two drivers were caught going triple digits during the storm, only one of them could be stopped. That driver was issued a citation. Normally it would have meant a trip to jail — but troopers were just too busy responding to injury crashes.
“Can you believe that?” Street asked. “(Going) 103 miles per hour in that weather is just unbelievable.”
It’s not just a safety issue, it’s causing a shortage of badly needed patrol vehicles.
“We’ve had some (vehicles) that have been completely totaled,” Street said. “We are having a hard time finding enough replacement cars for the number of troopers on the road.”
One holiday weekend is behind us; however, a very long winter is ahead.
“If we have another weekend like this last weekend or another storm like last Monday, then we won’t see a light at the end of the tunnel to when the vehicles will be replaced,” Street said.
There are more storms on the horizon and 25 patrol cars on order. Street wanted to stress that the bottom line for all drivers is to just slow down, especially when you see emergency lights flashing.