Utah drivers have been blessed with some of the best roads in the nation. (Road construction is to Utahns what airline food is to comics in general; but it seems to be worth it.) Nevertheless, even Utah sees its share of fatal accidents: In fact, there were 197 fatal accidents in the state in 2012. Happily, this is a 13 percent decrease from the 2011 data; but this makes little difference to the loved ones of those who were lost.
While many of these accidents were no one’s fault, resulting in a combination of unhappy factors, many car accidents result from a human error. The human errors that cause accidents are always to be avoided; but some places, more than others, require total concentration on the part of the driver:
1. Highway 6
Between 1996 and 2008, there were 519 accidents resulting in death or serious injury on Utah’s Highway 6, illustrating the danger of driving in rural areas where speeds are high, wildlife compete for passage, and lanes are narrow. The diversity of traffic, speeds, and—it must be said—levels of alertness on any highway make it a perilous journey on the best of days. When ice takes over, as it often does, conditions become even more formidable.
2. Interstate 15
Utah’s I-15 saw thousands of accidents within the past three years. In fact, total accidents have actually increased from 3,560 to 4,175– in Utah County alone. The classic highway scenario described above—high speeds, limited visibility due to a plenitude of large vehicles, etc. combined—makes I-15 a veritable hot spot for trouble.
3. Route 191
Originally Route 666 and nicknamed “Devil’s Highway,” Route 191 is renowned for twists and turns that bedevil motorcyclists. While the turns are nothing a responsible cyclist or driver couldn’t navigate, such a road is no place to gather wool or nod off, as self-correction could be ineffectual (or disastrous).
4. The Canyon Roads
“The backcountry roads around Escalante can be notoriously bad. Knowing the roads, their condition, and the weather all play a part in delivering you to the trail head and back.” Famous for their switchbacks, steep inclines, and sheer drop-offs, Utah’s scenic routes are as death-defying as they are breathtaking (no pun intended).
5. Washington Boulevard in Ogden
Residents of Ogden have suggested that a light and crosswalk at 650 North on Washington Boulevard would be a welcome antidote to what is now a deadly crossing for pedestrians. Unfortunately, the Utah Department of Transportation has denied that request on the basis that there is another traffic light a quarter mile away. UDOT has promised to keep tabs on that junction; but in the meantime, it seems that pedestrians must choose between adding to their travel time/distance and taking risks.
6. 900 East in Murray
The problems found on this street are not isolated, but representative of a larger problem. UDOT’s Orange Book Program emphasizes a “no changes” policy that does not adequately allow for changing circumstances. Using 900 East as an example, the author points out that in spite of the overhaul in other areas of town, formerly remote areas are not being renovated to keep up with growing use. Some sections are repaved, other sections are not. This forces non-motorists to merge with traffic in spots, preventing a serious threat to their safety.
7. SR-36 in Tooele
This road in the Lake Point business district has seen 3 fatalities, a handful of serious injuries, and “dozens” of accidents between 2010 and 2012 alone. Much of the danger of this particular road has to do with the number of people leaving the exit from I-80 at high speeds, the dual service of the central turning lane, and the high semi-truck traffic. Driver error seems to play a role, as well. “Cars run that red light all the time,” says Aireann Lindsay of Comfort Inn, speaking of the intersection at Saddleback Boulevard. “There’s probably three accidents a week that we witness. We’ve had guests comment and say it just seems like a really dangerous intersection.” Clearly, this stretch of road requires particular caution.
The sad truth is that there are times when no caution can compensate for recklessness. When fatal accidents occur in spite of the victim’s conscientiousness, the survivors may find themselves thrust into yet another ordeal when conflicting accounts lead to a denial of their claim for remuneration. In such cases, a personal injury attorney can provide support and insight to the distressed.
If this resembles your predicament, and you feel lost or at a dead end, help is available. At no cost, and without any promise of eventual retention, the office of Christensen & Hymas will provide a free consultation to help you determine your next course of action, whether or not that involves a personal injury attorney. For more information, call (801) 506-0800.
Image courtesy of Doug Kerr