Utah’s summers are renowned for being long, hot and bristling with open-air concerts, festivals and the opportunity to explore the great outdoors. As the snow slowly yields its icy grip on the Wasatch Mountains, ski resorts turn into hubs for rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking. Areas once impassable turn into vast paradises waiting to be explored. Painfully so, this time of year is also known for an increase in the number of fatal car accidents.
Following a national trend, the “100 days of summer” are considered one of the most dangerous times to operate a motor vehicle. According to the Utah Highway Patrol, the likelihood of being involved in a fatal car accident increases almost 50% between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend. Increased traffic, as well as other factors, nearly double the dangers of driving during the summer months.
Here are the most common causes of summer car accidents in Utah and more importantly how to minimize your risk of being injured in a crash.
5 Common Causes of Summer Car Accidents
It may seem like an obvious point but excessive speed remains the perennial number one cause of fatal car accidents in Utah. In 2016 alone there were over 11,000 speed related accidents resulting in over 100 fatalities. And here’s why:
- Accidents where speed was a factor accounted for 38% of all fatal accidents and were 2.7 times more likely to result in a fatality compared to other car accidents.
- Utah Highway Patrol says for every 5% increase in speed there is a 10% increase in the chance of a crash related injury and a 20% increase in the chance of a fatal accident.
- Exceeding the posted speed limit dramatically increases not only your risk of being in an accident but that a fatality could occur.
Plan extra time for summer trips to avoid feeling the need to rush. Always obey the posted speed limit and take into account the road and traffic conditions to ensure you are driving safely.
2. Distracted Driving
Distracted drivers are still one of the most common causes of summer car accidents in Utah, even though police consider it the most under-reported reason. The reason being is that a driver’s hesitation to report themselves and the inherent difficulty in verifying certain types of factors leads police to believe the problem is more widespread than reported. So, what is considered distracted driving?
- Using a phone
- Eating or drinking
- Adjusting the radio
- Feeling fatigued
These are all commonly reported distractions while operating a motor vehicle. It’s vital to strive for a safe, distraction-free environment while driving. On long summer drives it’s important to take time to rest. Highway Patrol suggests taking a 15-minute break every two hours as well as having someone else stay awake to keep you company. Don’t be afraid to pull over for a nap if needed.
3. Teen Driving
Receiving one’s driver’s license is a venerable right of passage on the road to adulthood, but it is also one of the most common causes of summer car accidents in Utah. There is no nice way to say it. Teenage drivers are statistically more likely to get into car accidents. While the overall number of car accidents involving a teenage driver remain fairly steady over the course of the year, the number of fatal accidents nearly double during the months of May and June.
Friday evenings are considered the most precarious time for these young drivers. Following too closely is the number two cause for car accidents involving teenage drivers with excessive speed and failure to yield rounding out the top three. It’s important to use the learner’s permit period to work closely with your teenager to build safe driving habits. This starts by setting a good example when you are behind the wheel.
4. Weekend Traffic
Summer weekends still remain the most popular time in America for taking a vacation road trip. Unfortunately, the massive influx of drivers on the road heavily contributes to the cause of summer car accidents in Utah. With Saturday afternoon traffic into early evening is the most dangerous time to drive during these summer months.
If you take a vacation trip by car, consider mapping out a plan to do your driving on weekdays if possible. Prepare for the roadways to be busy and allow yourself extra travel time with strategic breaks to prevent you from getting road weary.
5. No Seatbelts
Seat belts save lives; it’s that simple. Half of the deadliest summer car accidents in 2016 involved drivers who were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash. If you were injured in a serious accident, you are 24 times more likely to suffer a fatal injury when you are not restrained. Law enforcement agencies from Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona are marshalling together this summer to step up enforcement of the seat belt laws.
According to Utah seatbelt regulations, the minimum fine costs drivers $45. Each person in the car also receives their own ticket even if they are buckled up. The law has recently been changed to allow police to pull over a car solely for failure to wear a seat belt. Play it smart and always wear a seat belt.
Utah Car Accident Lawyers – The Advocates
If you’ve been hurt in a summer car accident through no fault of your own, you will need a personal injury attorney to guide you through the steps toward your recovery. When you hire the Advocates to represent your legal claim, you will work with the best car accident lawyer in Utah to fight for the compensation you are rightfully owed.
Being injured in an accident can cause a whole new layer of stress that no one is ever truly prepared for. We make it our mission, as Advocates for the people, to help you get back on your feet again. Your recovery is always our number one priority. Contact us today by phone at 801-326-0809 or through our live chat here on our homepage. You deserve a trustworthy Advocate!