The time between Memorial and Labor Days are the most deadly on Utah roads according to Utah Highway Patrol. So far this year, a large number of incidents follows this trend.
According to UHP Lt. David Bennion, troopers have been busy investigating accident scenes. “We have had an inordinate amount of traffic fatalities around the state during the past 2-3 weeks that are very concerning to the highway patrol,” he stated. “Since just after Memorial holiday weekend, there have been 16 fatal crashes with 19 dead. Two out of every three fatalities were not restrained in their vehicle.”
Lt. Bennion indicated that the main cause of these incidents are distracted or impatient drivers. “People just want to get to their destination and have fun,” he said. “Everyone needs to be more cautious while driving.”
In an effort to make Utah roads safer, the highway patrol provides several driving tips.
On the road:
- Buckle up every time and everyone. Half of the fatal crashes UHP handles are a result of people not wearing their seat belts.
- Drive sober. Chose a designated driver prior to drinking. According to UHP, 81% of people killed in DUI crashes are the impaired driver or their passengers.
- Stay focused. If driving, pay attention and avoid distractions. Leave the phone, GPS, radio, etc. to the passengers.
- Stay alert. Pull over when feeling sleepy.
- Obey the signs. Speeding is a leading cause of fatalities in Utah.
- Slow down and move over. When approaching an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, slow down and move over to the far lane if possible.
On the side of the road:
- Pull over or off the road. Drivers who are involved in a crash or an emergency, should get off of the roadway when possible.
- Stay in the vehicle. The side of the road is very unsafe. UHP advises that the number of people outside of a vehicle should be minimal. Everyone who does not need to be out of the vehicle should remain buckled up inside. Never allow children to exit the vehicle especially along busy roadways.
- Use the emergency lane. Changing a tire is very dangerous alongside a busy road. Pull on to the shoulder as far as possible.
- Plan ahead. Proper vehicle maintenance and an adequate fuel supply can help eliminate roadside emergencies.
On two wheels:
- Gear up. The only thing protecting a motorcyclist during a crash is their gear.
- Strategize. Constantly be on the lookout for danger.
- Plan a route. Visit ridetoliveutah.org for maps and ratings of Utah roads based upon difficulty for motorcycle riders. Detailed information regarding gear, skills and strategies are also available on the website.
Share the road:
- Give three feet. UHP advises that bicyclists and pedestrians should be given at least three feet by drivers to prevent a situation from occurring.
- Look twice. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and can be difficult to see. Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, especially at intersections and parking lot entries.