On Sunday, a highway patrolman was hit from behind by a sliding car in Sardine Canyon. The patrolman, Cade Brenchley, was sent to the hospital because of his injuries. According to KUTV.com, the patrolman was responding to cars that had slid off the road because of the weather conditions. A graphic dashcam video shows Brenchley exiting his squad car vested in a reflective neon vest and approaching a stranded white sedan which had slid off Route 91. As Brenchley walks toward the white car, a black runaway car pushes into him, hitting him in the back.
The video posted in the article shows the patrolman getting hit and catapulted into the air then landing next to the car he was trying to help. According to an article by KSL.com, Brenchley, a 13-year veteran of the highway patrol, experienced four broken ribs, a fractured scapula, and road rash burns on his face.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, Brenchley said he was careful to check traffic before exiting his vehicle. According to Utah Highway Patrolman Lt. Lee Perry, the driver of the white car tried to alert Brenchley of the oncoming vehicle. After Brenchley was hit, the driver who struck him stopped and was “distraught.” She apologized and later visited him in the hospital.
We at The Advocates Law Firm are glad to hear that Patrolman Brenchley’s health is improving. The video involved in this accident is exceptionally harrowing, and things could have been much worse. This sentiment is not meant to minimize the injuries Officer Brenchley sustained. During Tuesday’s press conference, Brenchley remembered a colleague, during the end of the press conference Tuesday, who died after being struck by a car.
Incidents such as this one should remind drivers of the importance of being safe when there are treacherous weather conditions. Although you cannot entirely prevent sliding when it is snowing, you can slow down and minimize the damage that you do. We would like to give three simple suggestions to help you improve your driving. We suggest the following when driving on snowy roads:
- Slow Down. This recommendation is one of the most common on our blog. It may seem like every cautionary article advises reducing the speed of your vehicle. However, speeding remains one of the leading causes of accidents. This suggestion is especially true when you see other cars on the road stopped or when you are traveling through a location that is likely to have pedestrians.
- Change Speeds Gradually. A sudden shift in speed can force a change in momentum. For example, slamming on your breaks can cause you to start to slide because there isn’t excellent traction on the road surface. Similarly, an abrupt change in speed by speeding up can increase the likelihood of your sliding as well.
- Maintain a Good Following Distance. A keeping a large gap between the vehicle in front of you and yourself gives you increased time to stop your vehicle in the event of an accident. For example, if all the cars in front of you are coming to an immediate stop, you will have more time to stop if you have a following distance.
Although the winter weather is likely on its way out (you never know with Utah), knowing how to remain safe during adverse weather conditions, whether it is snow, rain, ice, etc. is a crucial skill for any driver. As always, if you have been the victim of an accident because of another person’s reckless behavior, contact The Advocates Law Firm. We are always ready to help and give you advice on what to do next!