With over 300 killed on Utah roads in 2022, UHP urges driving basics

Jan 6, 2023, 4:49 PM | Updated: 7:12 pm

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — This new year, state troopers and safety advocates urge all of us to go back to the driving basics to save lives.  More than 300 people died on Utah’s roads last year for the second year in a row.

Utah Highway Patrol believes small changes in our driving behaviors can make a big difference in safety.  State troopers continue to see more aggressive and reckless driving.  Safety advocates said everyone needs to commit to a culture of safety and get back to the basics to protect each other out on the road.

“Let’s be safe and cautious and courteous as we drive through the year of 2023,” Sgt. Brian Peterson with the Utah Highway Patrol said.

Driving basics begin with buckling seat belts every time, and following the speed limit.  But Peterson said it takes more than that from drivers to improve overall safety.

Along with speeding, tailgating is one of the most obvious and persistent aggressive driving behaviors that leads to deadly crashes.

“The law says we should follow at a two second following distance; I don’t know anybody in Utah that does. So we need to increase that following distance. That’s one of the major causes to crashes that we see every single day.”

If the car in front of a motorist reacts to a hazard, they need time and space to adjust; If they’re tailgating, they cannot.  Tailgating can also escalate into road rage.

“We’re really coming out of this New Year’s, begging and asking people to go back to the basics, and the fundamentals. Be courteous. Be kind,” Peterson said.

Courtesy and kindness are the cornerstones of safe driving.

“We all need to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘What can we do to improve driving safety on our roads?’” John Gleason, UDOT Communications Director said.

When approaching an intersection or a school crossing, drivers should anticipate pedestrians, come to a complete stop, and be on the lookout, and not in such a hurry to roll through.

Be prepared to merge safely into traffic and to allow other vehicles to merge.

Always use blinkers before making a turn or changing lanes.

“So other cars around you know what your intention is. It allows them time to react, to slow down, to create a little bit more space for you to move in safely,” Peterson said.

  Signal for two seconds, then move over one lane.

“Not just moving over three or four lanes at one time.“

Keeping cars properly maintained and serviced are also basic behaviors. Motorists need good tire treads, working windshield wipers, and a full tank of gas this time of year.

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With over 300 killed on Utah roads in 2022, UHP urges driving basics