The sun was shining Monday along the Wasatch Front and that gave the Utah Highway Patrol a chance to total up the number of crashes that occurred from Wednesday, Nov. 27 to Sunday during the Thanksgiving holiday.
From Odgen to Payson, there were 350 accidents, with a statewide total of 598, according to Sgt. Nick Street, UHP spokesman.
That statewide total is up from 2018 by 164. There were also four fatalities including three from one crash in the Kanab area and one in the Brigham City area.
Last year there was one snow event, according to Street, while this year included at least three events with Friday being the worst along the Wasatch Front.
Interstate 15 in Lehi was closed in both directions for about nine hours Saturday after a crash created a potentially hazardous situation.
I-15 was closed in both directions around mile marker 282 starting at about 10:45 a.m. Saturday after a liquid petroleum tanker crashed.
On Monday, in about the same area, another semitrailer had its back trailer turn over causing at least two lanes of northbound I-15 in the same Lehi area close down.
“The trailer is on its side,” Street said. “There are no injuries and no hazmat conditions, but the trail weighs about 16,000 pounds and may need a crane for it to be up righted instead of a tow truck.”
One of the greatest concerns for UHP troopers is drivers not paying attention and driving too fast. Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2 UHP troopers had 10 vehicles hit, with some troopers inside the car and some outside.
“A couple of crashes happened where the drivers were impatient behind snow plows and passed them,” Street said. “Staying behind the plow is one of the safest places to be during a storm.”
Street said if he could impart anything to motorists it would be, “during inclement weather if they see us on the side of the road with emergency lights on it is for a reason.”
Street added that the road ahead might be dangerous and drivers should be driving as slow as in the 20 to 30 miles per hour.
“Please give first responders the lane,” Street said. “It is only by luck that troopers didn’t get hurt. We have got to change our (driving) behavior.”
Street said there are so many UHP vehicles needing repairs they are having to use older cars. This year alone 31 vehicles and troopers were hit, two of those troopers were outside of their cars.