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Thursday February 29, 2024 Salt Lake City, UT


Highway Safety

Protecting Utah

Secure Your Load Day

Sunday June 6, 2021
Image shows cars driving on a freeway with stats about debris calls for UHP troopers overlaid

The Problem: Road Debris is All Too Common

June 6th is Secure Your Load Day.

Utah Highway Patrol Troopers know the dangers presented by unsecured loads because they see the consequences of road debris every day. Calls for road debris are one of the most frequent calls to which they respond.

In fact, over the past 5 years, Troopers have logged time responding to road debris/hazards over 138,900 times. That’s an average of 76 times a day.

The Solution: What Drivers Can Do

To help drivers decrease their chances of being involved in a road debris crash, AAA recommends the following:

SECURE VEHICLE LOADS – When moving or towing items – even if you think you’re just going a short distance – it is important to make sure that all items are secured. As UHP Corporal Chris Jones said, “It’s your obligation to make sure that things in your car, STAY in your car. Don’t just do the minimum, because that’s not going to help anybody.”

Photo shows worn cargo strap and text says "Don't Trust weathered or worn straps and bungee cords"

To properly secure a load, drivers should:

  1. Tie down load with rope, netting or straps
  2. Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
  3. Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
  4. Don’t overload the vehicle
  5. Always double check load to make sure it is secure
  6. Don’t trust weathered or worn straps and bungee cords.

MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE – Badly worn or underinflated tires often suffer blowouts that can leave pieces of tire on the roadway. Exhaust systems and the hardware that attach to the vehicle can also rust and corrode, causing mufflers and other parts to drag and eventually break loose. Potential tire and exhaust system problems can easily be spotted by trained mechanics as part of the routine maintenance performed during every oil change.

Driving defensively can help avoid situations caused by unsecured loads. The Utah Highway Patrol recommends scanning ahead and not following too closely.


Attaining 100% load securement rate remains our goal. However, since you can only control what you control, there are ways drivers can help mitigate their likelihood of becoming a statistic with regard to road debris caused by someone else not securing their load.

In order to be defensive and be prepared for an adverse situation that might present itself on the freeway the way debris would present itself, you need to be looking 12-15 seconds ahead of where you’re currently driving. Look well in advance down the roadway. That way you’ll be prepared to deal with the situation by the time your vehicle gets to that part of the roadway.

If you just stare at the taillights in front of you and follow too closely, you put yourself at a disadvantage in being able to react to scenarios where debris might be present and have a higher likelihood of being unable to safely avoid the debris.

You might not have the ability to react in all situations. But if you can avoid getting the tunnel vision of just focusing on the tail lights in front of you, you can mitigate your risk, by giving yourself plenty of time to react.

Please, no matter what you’re carrying or towing, no matter how short of a trip you’re taking, make sure you properly secure your load: other people’s lives may depend on it.


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Fatal Crash: San Juan County on SR-191 at Milepost 78

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