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Top 4 Dangerous Road Conditions in Utah

Posted June 3, 2020 | Uncategorized

In 2018, there were 260 accident fatalities in Utah. Most of these accidents could have been prevented if the drivers had been more careful. Unfortunately, many weren’t and over 62,000 crashes caused personal injury and took lives.

While most car accidents are caused by human error, speeding, and drivers failing to wear seat belts, there are other serious factors to consider. Beyond drunk driving, driving distracted, and failing to yield, the state of roads plays a huge role as well. Utah records its share of accidents each year along with the state of the roads and driving conditions at the time.

If you live in Utah, then you need to be careful about the following top 4 dangerous driving conditions.

Poor Visibility

Utah’s unique topography and its high traffic volume make it very prone to dense smog and fog formations. This makes it particularly dangerous to drive during the early hours of the day and at night.

In fact, poor visibility is so commonplace that the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) had to install a low visibility warning system on the I-215, to warn all drivers about this.

During dense smog or fog events, visibility is often poor, with some drivers not being able to see beyond 60-100 meters ahead. There’s usually a slight uptick in road crashes when this happens, particularly if the drivers are traveling faster than the recommended speed limit.

While most residents of the state are aware of these weather conditions and make the necessary adjustments, travelers from out-of-state may not be. This is probably why many accidents on the state’s highways often involve out-of-towners passing through to other states.

Bad Roads

If the sole effect of bad roads were simply bumpy rides, then they wouldn’t be such an issue. However, bad roads are capable of causing significant damage to your car, causing accidents and, in certain instances, fatalities.

Bad roads can have potholes, uneven surfaces, cracks, broken concrete, exposed rebar, and sinkholes. All of these can result in a loss of vehicle control, causing an accident in the process.

This is why all drivers must be careful about speeding along routes known to have these issues. And if you’re unfamiliar with the road, just maintain a steady moderate speed. This will help you control your vehicle if a pothole suddenly appears and you have to drive over it at your current speed.  

Snow, Rain, and Black Ice

In Utah, driving during winter and spring seasons can be dangerous. Usually, just one of these elements is enough to cause you to lose vehicle control on the slippery road surface.

But during the winter, when all three factors are combined, it can lead to slide-offs and crashes across the state. The interstate routes are particularly notorious for car pile-ups caused by speeding drivers that lost control.

It’s worse during “white-out” and snow storm conditions where the driver must battle not only wet, slippery road surfaces, but also deal with extremely poor visibility. This is why the UDOT recommends that drivers slow down during these periods and use snow chains.

By driving slowly and using chains, the vehicle’s tires will have more traction against the road surface, and create adequate friction in slick areas with patchy ice. Also, make sure to increase the stopping distance between you and other vehicles.

The usual recommended stopping distance when traveling at 30 MPH is 75 feet, or about the length of 6 cars, but you should increase this distance in adverse weather conditions–by as much as 10 times. This will give you ample time to brake and hopefully, avoid getting in an auto accident.

Narrow, Winding Stretches

Utah’s US Highway 6 is a good example of this. The road is built in between canyons, has a lot of twists and turns, and sometimes, constricts into a small, two-lane bypass.

These factors, combined with road users traveling at freeway speeds, drastically increase the risk of accidents happening on this highway stretch.

Accidents along this route are usually caused by drivers trying to overtake slower moving vehicles and running into oncoming vehicles. Avoid being in a hurry on these routes. It will keep you safe and protect your loved ones.

Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, no matter how hard people try to stay safe on the road, they can still get involved in accidents. Just because you’re careful doesn’t mean that other road users will do the same.

If you’ve been in an accident and suffered personal injuries or worse, please get in touch with our Fielding Law Utah office at (801) 666-2912 to speak to our experienced auto accident lawyers today.