KSL TRAFFIC

UDOT urges safe driving around semi-trucks

Jun 16, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:21 am

a semi truck is pictured next to a regular car, officials are urging semi truck safety...

UDOT officials are urging drivers to practice safe driving, especially around semi trucks. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation held an event Thursday to share safe driving practices related to semi-trucks. Twenty-five people have already died this year so far in crashes involving semis.

The UDOT event aimed to get Utahns to practice safe driving around semis by giving them extra space when driving, turning and stopping.

UDOT said that 43 Utahns died in crashes involving commercial vehicles in 2022. Passenger cars are at fault in 75% of these crashes.

“If you’re involved in a crash with a commercial vehicle like a big rig, you’re lucky if you come out alive,” said UDOT Communications Manager Kate Lindley.

Lindley said a common mistake drivers make is merging too quickly. When a car cuts a semi off, they’re getting the weight of 20 cars coming right at them. 

It takes semis almost twice as much distance to stop as other cars. On a good day, Lindley said, it takes an average semi more than 500 feet to stop.

Angie Cloud is lucky to have never been in a crash in her 18 years as a truck driver but she said she’s had some close calls.

“The biggest fear I have is somebody cutting me off and not being able to stop.”

Cloud said among other concerns, she’s seeing a lot of people texting while merging. 

“And we can see. I mean we look down and we see that phone, and we see them swerving.”

Giving semi-trucks enough space, and practicing other safe driving practices can help prevent more of these crashes.

“They’re trying to be at their best. We can help them out by being truck smart too,” Lindley said.

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UDOT urges safe driving around semi-trucks