Preparing for the Deadliest Days in 2022
ELI5: Negligence

Utah’s 100 deadliest days are fast approaching. The days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are considered to be the deadliest days on Utah’s roads. Though our goal is to have zero fatalities, it’s not uncommon for at least one fatality to occur on Utah’s roads every day during the summer. Due to the large increase in car accidents during the summer, it’s important that Utahns are careful when they’re on the road–even though the weather allows for ideal driving conditions. Furthermore, it may be necessary to take additional safety measures to ensure that you’re contributing to the safety of everyone on the road. Though zero fatalities is a lofty goal, it’s one worth fighting for.

Why so Many Accidents?

Though there’s no clear culprit we can point to, there are a lot of things that could be contributing to the increase in fatalities during the summer months.  As previously mentioned, the conditions on the road are ideal: there’s no snow, and very little rain to worry about. This can lead to careless and even reckless driving. Also, since the summer time is the perfect time for family getaways and camping trips, there is an increase in the number of drivers on Utah’s roads. Since there are more drivers, there are bound to be more accidents. Additionally, a lot of construction begins in the summer. Some of the signs, detours, and road closures may be confusing to new drivers. And the cones and structures in the road may cause problems for drivers who aren’t paying enough attention. Lastly, now that school is out for the summer, there are a lot of inexperienced teenage drivers on the road.

Slow Down!

Last year, 106 people died due to speed related fatalities, and Utah Highway Patrol saw a significant increase in drivers exceeding 100 miles per hour. A lot of people don’t feel the need to drive cautiously when the roads are dry and their visibility is great. However, weaving in and out of traffic, going much faster than everyone else on the road, can put many people in danger, even in optimal driving conditions. Not only is it more difficult to control your vehicle at high speeds, the crashes resulting from such accidents are typically much more severe. With summer construction and more inexperienced drivers on the road. It’s so important that you’re able to control your vehicle and react quickly to unpredictable drivers and other situations.

Don’t Drive Dumb

Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drive distracted. Don’t drive dumb. In 2022, there’s no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol. With rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, getting a ride home has never been easier. If you’re tempted to drink and drive, remember that 152 people died in 2021 as a result of impaired driving. Though you may feel as though you’re good to drive, you’re making a decision about your impairment while your judgment is impaired. Distracted driving may also be a large issue during the summer months. In 2021, 12 people were fatally injured on Utah’s roads due to distracted driving. If you struggle with the temptation to text and drive, it may be for the best that your phone goes in your trunk.

React to Speed Demons Appropriately

Though you can control yourself, you can’t control the other maniacs on the road. In 2021, 21 people were fatally injured due to aggressive driving on Utah’s roads. We’ve all been on the road while some lunatic is weaving in and out of lanes, cutting everyone off and causing others to slam on their brakes. While you’d probably like to tell them how you really feel with a hand gesture, such as a thumbs down, it’s probably best to refrain from escalating the situation. If you encounter someone who’s clearly got somewhere to be, just get out of the way. Those who are going extremely fast may have a hard time controlling their vehicle, coming to a complete stop, or reacting to items in the road in a safe manner. You don’t want to be anywhere near their vehicle when they can’t slow down. Acting passive-aggressively, like intentionally slowing down in front of them, won’t “teach them a lesson” either—it just makes the situation more dangerous. 

React to Drunk Drivers Safely

Reacting to drunk drivers is similar to reacting to speed demons. However, it’s important to remember that drunk drivers are more likely to be overly confident in their driving abilities. They’re often impulsive and they may struggle to stay within the lines. Since they can veer into your lane rather unpredictably, it is in your best interest to be as far away from them as possible. If you can find an exit, or a safe place to pull over, make sure to report the intoxicated driver. If you feel as though they are a danger to others, you need to call 911 to report them. Make sure you have your location, and the direction the vehicle is headed in. If you can get their license plate number, that could be a big help. However, you should not put your life or others in danger trying to get it. 

Download an Accident Checklist

Make sure you’re prepared for this summer. Before you head out onto the roads, put a first aid kit in the trunk of your car, and download an accident checklist so you know what to do if you’re ever in a wreck. Though there are many negligent drivers, you don’t have to be one of them. Zero fatalities is Utah’s goal, and we all need to work together in order to reach it.