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Experienced drivers promote safety on Kansas City metro ramps

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Slowing down when approaching a ramp is easy when you’re driving in a car, but that’s not case in a tractor-trailer.

For a 23-year-old truck driver from Somalia, police say speeding cost him his life.

His tractor-trailer was carrying nearly 42,000 pounds of dog and cat food when it overturned on the ramp that connects westbound Interstate 70 to southbound Interstate 435 in late November.

Several weeks after his death, the Missouri Department of Transportation installed a radar speed sign at that specific ramp.

Previous story: MODOT installs radar speed sign following fatal crash in KCMO

Experts say the new sign plays a small but significant role in improving mindfulness and safety among drivers.

“As you drive one of these, you want to be looking a mile in front of you,” said Butch Hudson, CDL instructor and head of operations at Gear Monkey Trucking. “You want to see a very big picture.”

Hudson has traveled to hundreds of cities in his 30 years as a professional driver.

He points out that Kansas City is unique in the way off-ramps are shorter and the curves are sharper compared to other locations.

“That’s very much what you do not want to see in a big truck that’s loaded with 40,000 pounds,” Hudson said.

41 Action News rode with Hudson to the area where the fatal crash happened. He explained different ways things can go wrong for someone behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer on a ramp.

“If your trailer is getting out of control, you want to try and get bring it back in control, back into line behind your tractor by regaining traction of trailer,” Hudson said.

There are multiple ways to get a trailer back under control, including slowing down and turning in the direction you want the trailer to move, he said.

The crash can be a lesson for others on the road.

“We have lots of thoughts in our mind, and we get careless,” Hudson said. “I think all of the signs are something that we need to stop and look at more often.”

MODOT said that the radar speed signs are not replacing law enforcement; instead, they’re emphasizing the importance of slowing down for everyone.

 
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