Troopers remind motorists to drive safe after deadly holiday weekend

Utah Highway Patrol trooper conducting a traffic stop along 1000 West, Logan

LOGAN — It was a deadly Fourth of July weekend on Utah’s roads. The Utah Highway Patrol said troopers investigated 157 crashes during the extended holiday weekend. Two of those were fatal accidents.

UHP Lt. Lee Perry said the recent fatalities in northern Utah have been a result of drivers either being fatigued or distracted. 

“You get to the point where you get relaxed,” said Perry. “You say, ‘oh I don’t need to worry about watching the road right now because it is just there.’ The next thing you know, you’ve drifted off.”

Perry reminds drivers, if your vehicle does drift off the road, don’t panic.

“Hold your wheel really steady and just make a slight input to your steering wheel, don’t yank it hard. That is what we are seeing, far too many people are over-correcting. Their wheel goes off the edge of the road, and what do they do? They yank the wheel as hard as they can in the opposite direction, and that is what sets these rollover crashes up.”

On June 7th, a seven-year-old boy died after the truck he was riding in drifted off I-84 near Howell. Troopers said the truck rolled after the driver panicked and over-corrected.

Perry said if drivers will make just a small correction to the steering wheel when their vehicle drifts off the road, they have a better chance of keeping it under control.

“If they will just put a slight input, just a quarter turn to their steering wheel rather than that hard, pull it as far as we can to the one direction of the other. I think people will find that they can maintain control of their car better. Especially if they have that seat belt on and aren’t thrown around in the car.”

Utah Highway Patrol troopers also made 5173 vehicle stops between July 1st and 4th. Of that total, 3064 were for speeding, 1101 were seat belt violations and 61 were DUI arrests.

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