UHP troopers pull over drivers going over 100 mph, busy clearing crashes

Dec 14, 2022, 6:51 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2022, 11:16 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A dayslong winter storm has created serious driving challenges for Utah’s troopers and drivers.

Law enforcement responded to hundreds of crashes over the past 24 hours. Even the threat of black ice is not enough to get some drivers to slow down.

On Tuesday, Utah Highway Patrol troopers pulled over a driver going 102 mph in an 80 zone. Hours later, in Juab County, another trooper cited drivers going 100, 105 and 107 mph. One of those triple-digit drivers said he was daydreaming.

“It’s dangerous and there’s no room for it,” said trooper Brad Burr.

He cited one of Utah’s new state laws. If a driver is going 105 mph or faster, they could face a reckless driving charge.

“It’s not a racetrack,” Burr said.

Burr explained if he’s pulling over a driver, they are welcome to exit the freeway and find a safe place to park.

He said the best practice is turning on hazard lights, slowing down and waving in the side or rearview mirror to indicate to the law enforcement official that you’re trying to exit safely, then pull over.

Burr said many issues he’s seeing now are related to equipment.

“Making sure they have proper tires, their vehicles are operating correctly for the winter driving,” he said. “A lot of it is that their tread is less than the 2/32 [inch], which is required by law. They’re trying to work through those tires…but it’s absolutely important to make sure you have adequate tires.”

Burr said a lack of distance between cars also causes problems on the roads in wintry conditions.

“You need to have a two-second following distance. It’s approximately two car lengths,” he explained. “I would even advise in these conditions to increase that by three or four.”

Burr said drivers going too fast and following too closely aren’t able to slow down quickly when there’s a crash or some hazard in the road.

“It basically turns your vehicle into a led sled at that point where it takes a lot longer to stop on these wet roads,” he said.

UHP reported vehicles hitting troopers while they worked on clearing crashes.

“Especially in these conditions, all it takes is one car to slide out, and it becomes a very dangerous situation,” Burr said. “I’ve been in several different several situations where I’ve always been hit, and you definitely need to keep your head on swivel as you’re out there on the road conducting a traffic stop or handling a traffic collision.”

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UHP troopers pull over drivers going over 100 mph, busy clearing crashes