The state of Utah is commonly known for two things: the best snow and the worst drivers. When it comes to driving in the winter time, these two statements can be a deadly combination for those with a driver’s license. Driving is the one thing we all rant about when traveling from point A to B, even out of the car. However, the problem with driving lies not so much in disobeying driving laws, but rather in the manners of the individuals driving cars.
Utah has been deemed, out of 2,000 drivers, the home of the rudest drivers in the nation. In fact, it made the top 10 list. Why? The fact is drivers in Utah tend not to signal, don’t let people merge and often blow through yield signs. They keep looking straight ahead, pretending not to see the car trying to squeeze in next to them, and, when one car tries to get over to another lane, the car behind it zooms to get in front of the merger, sometimes preventing them from changing lanes.
People in Utah are incredibly rude when it comes to simple driving courtesies. They tailgate cars, speed past drivers that are not going as fast as they would like and ignore speed indications in attempts to make it to their destinations 10 seconds earlier than the car behind them.
Think I’m just ranting? The Department of Public Safety, in 2014, reported the following:
More than 2,100 injury crashes caused by tailgating
More than 1,400 injury crashes caused by failure to yield
More than 1,000 injury crashes caused by improper lane changes
Nearly 1,000 injury crashes caused by negligent collisions
Nearly 400 injury crashes caused by speeding
More and more people are taking the lives of others due to their reckless driving manners and behavior.
According to the Utah Fatal Crash Summary of 2016, “traffic deaths increased from 220 in 2013 to 280 in 2016, the fourth year in a row of an increase.”
Whether it be tailgating, failure to yield or speeding, who can say they haven’t experienced one of these on Utah’s roads? Driving has become highly stressful due to the need to be on high alert of, not just one’s own driving decisions, but those of others.
Once drivers get comfortable with being on the road, they take their comfort for granted and risk their safety by assuming others will watch out for them, or be safe on their behalf. As a result, they begin to develop poor and dangerous driving skills.
Don McNair, a retired Salt Lake Police officer, knows quite a bit about Utah drivers. He once said in an interview with KSL, “I think after people drive for a while, they pick up bad habits. [They’re] shaving [and] playing with the radio…” McNair said.
The solution is simple: be kind. The blinker was installed for a reason. Use it. Yield signs were put there to prevent crashes. Obey them. It’s common sense that people need to be allowed onto the freeway. Let them in.
Is it really so hard, Utah? Be courteous to drivers around you and let them know what you plan on doing next. Human lives are at stake when you get behind the wheel, especially in winter. Don’t be the reason that someone can’t be with their family this season. Be safe and smart, not just for your own sake, but for others’.