UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 18, 2024

OPINION | Utahns are terrible drivers

Paying attention and being aware of surroundings will put you in a stronger position to deal with other people’s bad driving. Your safety and the safety of other drivers is a priority. Misha Mosiichuk | Sun News Daily

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People from Utah are terrible drivers.

In 2021, Utah had 61,247 car crashes and 3,323 of those crashes were in Washington County itself.

One may be asking why Utah drivers have such a bad reputation and that is simply because of the statistics the state holds. For example, according to the Utah Department of Health a car crash happens every eight minutes. A person is injured in a car crash every 20 minutes and a person dies in a crash every 33 hours. This adds up to about 72 car crashes per day in Utah.

The top five causes of car crashes in Utah are:

  • Speeding
  • Lane swerving
  • Failure to yield
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence

When researching the Utah crash summary, I was very surprised to see that speeding was the number one cause of car crashes in Utah. Utahns do not even drive the speed limit from what I interact with daily. First, Utahns enter the freeway going 45 mph when the speed limit is 70 mph. Then semi-trucks are forced to move over so they do not crush the oncoming slow drivers, and it creates this unnecessary amount of lane switching that could be avoided if the person used the on-ramp as intended. This is how your everyday freeway traffic is caused in Washington County.

Car crashes also occur so often in Utah because people are simply not paying attention while driving. In 2021, 5,367 people were in car crashes because they were driving while distracted. I cannot even begin to count the number of times someone has merged lanes without looking and almost hit my car because they were using their phone, eating and/or they didn’t feel like looking before switching lanes. It is concerning just how many people do not pay attention while driving which is why 4% of all fatal crashes in Utah are distraction related. While this may not seem like a lot, it continues to rise each year.

I also think a majority of the car crashes that happen in Utah are because people are in a rush. Sometimes I even find myself questioning if Utahns even know their own state driving laws. Like when you’re approaching a four-way stop but the people all stopped nearly at the same time as you. Utah law states that you must yield the right of way to the motorist on the right. But typical Utahns stop and go regardless of who had the right of way. Sometimes I think of Utahns as in their own world when driving which is obviously the underlying problem for Utahns behind the wheel.

Another example of Utahns not knowing the laws I see is people running red lights. No matter where I go in Washington County, there are always people running red lights. But of course it’s never just one or two people running the red light, its always four to five which is crazy. Yes, those people who ran the light got to where they were going three seconds faster, but all it takes is one person not paying attention, and those three seconds could have cost them their life.

While we all joke about how bad the drivers are in Utah, it can be scary to drive on the road with people who are only worried about themselves at the end of the day.

Utahns drive with your full attention, or don’t get in the car!