St. George car accidents call drivers and pedestrians to be more careful

Within 48 hours of each other on Nov. 1 and Nov. 3, two siblings were killed at the same intersection, Bluff Street and 500 North, while crossing the street. Remaining aware of our surroundings is essential, not only as a pedestrian but also as a driver. Mia Tom | Sun News Daily

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Within two days of each other, a brother and sister were struck and killed by vehicles on the same North Bluff Street crosswalk.

Sources say one of the drivers who was involved in the sister’s crash had cocaine in her system and thought that “driving a short distance might be OK.”

Sydney Burnett, a local high school senior, said she saw police and an ambulance rush to the scene, and shortly after, the road was blocked off, keeping others from the area.

Even with Utah Tech University being a dry campus, there is still the risk of people driving around and near campus intoxicated. It is the responsibility of students to be smart and not get behind the wheel under the influence of any substance as well as not walk in the middle of the road in front of traffic.

Hailey White, a St. George resident, said: “I think it’s such a crazy coincidence that the two crashes happened so close together with the brother and sister. I hope that people can learn from them.”

As college students, there are times when we are in cars with our friends or family and are in a rush trying to get somewhere. There’s music, yelling and laughing going on that can cause the driver to get distracted. This can lead to fatal and life-changing crashes to happen. 

In most recent national data, about 20% of the national total of college-age people in the United States were either killed or injured in car crashes in a single year.

Moving to a new town as a college student is scary for many reasons, with one of those reasons being that the area they are new to is unfamiliar. Familiarizing yourself with your surroundings helps keep the surrounding area and those who are passing through safe. Many streets in downtown St. George can be hard to navigate and even harder to navigate when distractions are occurring.

Being aware of your surroundings saves lives. There is a near-constant flow of people moving around on campus and through the parking lots. Oftentimes, those people have headphones on or are looking down at their phones. It is both the pedestrians’ and drivers’ responsibility to watch for each other to make sure accidents don’t happen. 

Jon Gibb, director of facility planning and construction, said, “Traveling at speeds that allow you to stop in time are going to be important, and then as a pedestrian, getting to a sidewalk from the parking lot should be your focus.”

It is crucial for people driving around campus and through the parking lots to go slow. Keeping that slower speed limit can make sure you’re aware of what’s happening around you, especially if the people walking around you aren’t paying attention.

Even though pedestrians have the right of way, this does not mean they don’t need to pay attention. Keeping your eyes peeled for cars driving as well as listening for the possibility of screeching tires coming your way could save your life as well as others. Keeping your eyes up and taking your headphones off are measures that can be taken to stay safe.

Gibb said he would advise those who are walking in the parking lots to get close to buildings and walk along the edge of the walls. The closer you are walking to buildings, the lesser the chance of cars hitting you.

The university is making constant efforts to make the school a safer place. Adding more four-way stops and crosswalks along the roads to campus is the first of many movements that the school and the city are making. The university can and is working on making further improvements to help those on campus and the surrounding community.