The Utah Highway Patrol says that they aren’t sure what’s causing this year’s influx of wrong way drivers and subsequent deaths.
The most recent of these wrong way crashes occurred over the weekend on Saturday, March 12th. The first happened at around 5 a.m. on Interstate 15; the second happened that evening on US Highway 6, while the third occurred late that evening on Mountain View Corridor near 6800 South. The first and the third of these crashes were fatal.
According to Fox 13 News, the early morning I-15 crash involved a wrong-way Ford Focus that collided with an FJ Cruiser. Both drivers were pronounced dead on scene. The evening crash on Highway 6 heading to I-15 involved a Dodge Journey that veered into the oncoming lanes and collided with a semi truck. A passenger in the Journey was critically injured in that incident. The late night crash on Mountain View Corridor involved a wrong-way motortist driving with their lights off. They collided with an oncoming vehicle and were killed in the crash.
Utah Highway Patrol says that more than 30 wrong way crashes have occurred in just the first two months of 2022, two of those involving deaths – this does not take into account this weekend’s crashes.
“I don’t know what’s causing the epidemic that we have with wrong-ways right now, but we have had several in the last couple of months,” said UHP Trooper Andy Battenfield.
“It is hard, you know, and what makes it even more difficult sometimes is that it’s hard to find relatives,” he said.
Battenfield continues by saying he believes that the Utah Department of Transportation does plenty as far as putting up signage to alert wrong way drivers, but offers some advice for anyone who may encounter someone driving the wrong way.
Following distance is a big part of that,” Battenfield said. “If you’re scanning 12 or 15 seconds ahead, maybe that gives you time to react to that wrong-way vehicle if you can see those headlights coming towards you. Distance and time are your best friends.”
He adds that putting the phone away, focusing on the road, and calling a ride if you are impaired are the best ways to prevent these situations.