Incident Management Team works to keep Utah freeways safe

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SALT LAKE CITY — Wednesday morning's snowfall caused a handful of slide-offs on freeways around the Salt Lake Valley. Nobody got hurt, and the Utah Department of Transportation's Incident Management Team calls that "a successful day."

Members of the special UDOT team say they're definitely busier when it snows, but whenever their trucks go out, they're almost guaranteed to find someone who needs help.

All we're trying to do is keep the freeway running, and get (immobile vehicles) off the freeway.

–Jeff Reynolds, UDOT Incident Management Team


It's something you see every day: cars on the side of the interstate. Jeff Reynolds, with UDOT Incident Management, sees them too. His job is making sure drivers who break down get going again.

"All we're trying to do is keep the freeway running, and get them off the freeway," Reynolds said.

Sometimes, he is helping with traffic on accidents. Other times, he's helping a motorist who broke down.

"It's a great job," Reynolds said. "I like going out and helping the public, and (I) try to make a difference out there."

There are six Incident Management trucks in Salt Lake County, three in Davis County, and three in Utah County; all of them are ready to help.

Did you know?
UDOT'S Incident Management Program has been in place since 1994. The program provides both routine courtesy service patrol on freeways and emergency response to incidents. The team provides services on interstate routes in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah Counties Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Drivers out of gas get a free gallon, enough to make it to a gas station. "It's a big help to motorists," said Scott Zigler, a driver who was helped by Reynolds Wednesday when he ran out of gas.

While it's a rewarding job, it can be dangerous. Reynolds has to make sure his lane is clear before getting out of his truck, and he has to constantly watch what's coming.

"If people would actually move over a little bit, give us a little more room when they see the lights out there, move to the next lane or slow down, it would make it a lot safer," Reynolds said.

"I know I save lives," he added. "We make a big difference out there."

UDOT says other states have come to Utah to see how the Incident Management trucks run, hoping to start a similar program in their states.


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