‘It would scare you’: Truck drivers navigate gusty winds in Tooele

Local News

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — Truck drivers have been having issues navigating through the high winds going through Tooele County.

Wind gusts almost reached 60 mph while they were sustained between 30 – 40 mph.

ABC4 spent Tuesday off Exit 99 in Tooele County, one of the main stops for truck drivers on I-80, talking to them about their experience on the road.

“I’ve got 5,000 pounds of chips in my trailer,” said truck driver John Helm.

“The wind is so strong and I’m empty and I don’t want to tip over,” said truck driver Robert Gatling.

These two truck drivers were pulled over in a parking lot waiting for the heavy winds to die down.

“I called my company and said I’m shutting down,” said Helm. “I’ll deliver it when I can; whenever the weather is calm.”

Helm brought his big rig from Chicago to Sparks, Nevada, a 27-hour drive.

He stopped in Tooele, Utah because of the 50 mile-per-hour plus winds.

“You cannot prevent a rollover,” said Helm. “All you can do is brace for impact and when you roll over it’s 50-50, you’re gonna live (or) you’re gonna die.”

He’ll be on his way Wednesday morning he said, meanwhile Gatling agreed with Helm and said waiting it out is the best option.

“It would scare you,” aid Gatling, “It was spooky real, so that’s why I stopped here and because I thought my trailer was going to go over at first, but I got here in an hour and this is where I’m going to stay until the winds die down.”

Gatling’s truck is empty and it weighs around 34,000 pounds.

Winds more than 50 miles an hour winds can knock that over and it can knock over campers and RV’s.

When the rollover starts, it’s virtually impossible to stop.

“You’re done,” said Gatling. “Once that jolt pushes you over that’s it. As much as you can do, you can try to try to steer it or whatever but you are going over.”

That’s why Utah Highway Patrol said it’s best to play it safe.

“If you find yourself in a situation where you’re out and the wind is blowing really strong it is necessary we would expect you to stop in and wait out the situation,” said Sgt. Cameron Roden.

UHP said these high winds always make for a dangerous situation on the road.

He advised drivers to stay clear of semi-trucks while driving in excessive winds.

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