CASPER, Wyo. — A tractor-trailer truck carrying snowmobiles became stuck on US-212/WY-296, also known as “The Beartooth Highway,” after the driver’s GPS directed him along this route.
That highway was closed to eastbound traffic.
“Park County Search and Rescue was dispatched as well, believing they’d have to snowmobile in to retrieve the stranded driver and his passenger,” the Wyoming Highway Patrol said on Facebook on Monday, Dec. 2. “However, the WHP was able to drive their all-wheel-drive Dodge Charger to the stranded vehicle.”
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“Yellowstone National Park maintenance sent out a loader and plow truck to clear a path for the wreckers from Cody.”
The driver had become stuck on the mountain highway on Nov. 27.
“At 18:43, the tractor-trailer, which was ironically carrying snowmobiles, was freed and en route to Cody,” the WHP added. “When asked why the driver was heading east on US 212, the driver said his GPS gave him that route, which the Trooper confirmed.”
“Even though a regulatory sign near the junction shows the road closed in 17 miles and a cautionary sign recommends less than 40′ vehicles, the driver continued. The driver was unprepared for the mountain conditions and was unfamiliar with the route. The truck also did not have tire chains or a front tow hook.”
The WHP urged motorists to rely on more than just GPS and to be prepared for changing road conditions when traveling.
“Thankfully this driver was able to utilize his company’s messaging system to get help,” they added. “However, with a little trip pre-planning and watching the roadway signs, he wouldn’t have gotten into that predicament.”
“511 and WYDOT’s travel information website (wyoroad.info) both showed US 212 eastbound as closed. It happens too often on US 212 in the spring and fall, and drivers take that route because of their GPS instructions.”
The United States Park Service maintains the highway.
“With multiple motorists becoming stranded each year in deep snow, the WHP has requested a gate or barrels at the US 212E/WY 296 junction and better signage, for the safety of motorists,” the WHP added. “Many thanks go out to the USPS maintenance crew, and Park County Search and Rescue for their assistance.”