Traffic accident rates always increase in the winter months when the beauty of a fresh snowfall combines with icy roadways and makes for a less than ideal driving circumstance. Drivers along Utah’s Wasatch Front are not new to this concept. Reports of snowmobile accidents, multiple car pileups and multitudes of fender benders in icy parking lots during these winter months is also not new news. But The Daily Herald suggests in this online articlethat some intersections are simply inherently more dangerous in Utah, regardless of weather conditions, and Salt Lake City lawyers representing car accident or injury victims are probably aware of the ten most dangerous intersections in Utah County.
The Utah Department of Transportation points out what, to most, is common sense: the higher the volume of traffic at an intersection, the higher the rate of accidents at said intersection. 800 North and State Street in Orem, for example, saw 112 crashes within a three-year span from 2010-2012. Salt Lake City lawyers may question the statistic that seven of the top 10 intersections reporting the most crashes are in Orem, Utah with four on State Street and three on University Parkway. The Daily Herald proposes that the design of an intersection can have an impact on how many accidents happen, but Lt. Craig Martinez with the Orem Department of Public Safety argues that the crashes aren’t being caused by poorly designed intersections or light timing.
So what are the causes? And why the high rate of accidents in such a small, concentrated, geographic area? Lt. Martinez speculates that many accidents occur because people fail to yield turns. “Everybody seems to be in a hurry,” he noted. The director of traffic and safety for UDOT, Robert Hull, expresses agreement with Lt. Martinez, emphasizing that if drivers would change a few behaviors, many crashes could be prevented. Talking on the phone while driving is classified as careless driving and is designated as a secondary offense – meaning a driver can’t be stopped for cell-phone use only. Texting while driving is banned entirely. However, these laws only occasionally promote actual change in drivers. Nationwide campaigns that promote safe driving, including the elimination of texting while driving, include testimonials and bandwagon propaganda in TV commercials and city billboards. Salt Lake City lawyers and Wasatch Front drivers should also consider Hull’s recent statement, “UDOT works carefully to design safe intersections, but we can only do so much.”
Improving the safety for drivers on Utah’s roads is only partially up to UDOT. In large, it’s up to you, me, and all drivers we share the road with. Individual drivers’ impact on improving the safety of these intersections really can’t be over emphasized. Most accidents, Hull said, can be prevented if drivers simply pay attention to their surroundings and follow the laws. Salt Lake City lawyers representing accident victims are all too aware of this fact. Hull calls for increased patience and improved planning on behalf of the driver so the need to rush through traffic is eliminated. Variable road conditions in winter or poorly-lit circumstances also vastly impact a driver’s ability to control the vehicle and timely response to stimuli to avoid accidents, so extra caution is advisable in these situations.