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Staying safe on Utah roads this winter

It is important to drive carefully on Utah roads during the winter months.
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    January 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Staying safe on Utah roads this winter

Article provided by Robinson, Seiler & Anderson, LC
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We all know how harsh Utah's winters can be: blowing snow, frigid conditions and ice are part and parcel with living in our great state. Even so, residents and tourists alike flock to our roads, headed for some of the best skiing and winter recreation in the country. With high traffic volumes - particularly around the holidays, as an estimated 95 million people hit the road travelling to see loved ones - and fast-changing weather conditions comes an increased risk for traffic accidents.

Winter driving, though it comes with a level of danger, doesn't have to be inherently hazardous. There are ways to decrease your chances of having an accident, even given the high traffic levels, snow, ice and holiday stress that makes this time of the year dangerous on our nation's roads.

The risks

In addition to obvious winter-related hazards throughout Utah (like heavy or blowing snow and iced road and bridge surfaces), there are other dangers as well. For example, speeding. Going a few miles an hour over the speed limit might be no big deal in the summertime, with most drivers being at risk of nothing more than a speeding ticket. That same action in the wintertime, though, when there are icy patches on the roadway, can be a recipe for disaster.

The same is true with distracted driving, though studies have shown that distracted driving (using a cellphone, texting, checking email, grooming, eating, changing a music selection or reading a map) is dangerous all year long. The danger is magnified in the winter, when visibility might be lower due to snow and road surfaces are slippery. Not keeping your full attention on the road in such conditions can result in serious injuries.

Another "hidden" culprit causing wintertime traffic accidents: the holiday season. Last-minute shoppers might be so focused on finding the perfect gift that they neglect to focus on the road in front of them. Also, revelers heading home from holiday parties often drive while under the influence of alcohol. Hitting the eggnog too hard can leave a driver with slowed reaction times and poor judgment, two things that can also cause serious motor vehicle accidents.

Staying safe

Though it is impossible for you to control the behaviors of other drivers, there are things you can do to help keep yourself and your passengers safer on Utah's roads this winter. Driving at or below the posted speed limit (and adjusting your speed as needed to account for changing road conditions), increasing your following time behind vehicles ahead of you, obeying traffic signals and keeping your attention on the road will all decrease the likelihood that you will be involved in a crash.

If you or a loved one is tragically involved in an injury-causing car accident this winter, you may be eligible to recover compensation from the at-fault driver. Contact an experienced Utah personal injury attorney to learn more about your legal options.

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