Breakdown Lane: Mechanical Issues Behind Accidents in Utah

Driving is an integral part of daily life for many Americans, and the state of Utah is no exception. With its vast expanses of highways and rural roads, the risk of experiencing a vehicle breakdown is ever-present. These mechanical issues can lead to dangerous situations on the road, putting drivers and passengers at risk of accidents. In this article, we’ll explore the dangers of vehicle breakdowns, the steps to take if you find yourself in such a predicament, and the steps Utah is taking to address this issue.

Common Causes of Mechanical Issues

Vehicle breakdowns can occur due to various mechanical issues, some of which are more common than others. Understanding these causes can help drivers identify potential problems and take preventive measures.

  • Battery failure: A dead battery is one of the most common reasons for a vehicle breakdown. Batteries have a limited lifespan and can be affected by extreme temperatures, age, and excessive electrical loads.
  • Tire problems: Flat tires, underinflated tires, or worn-out tires can lead to a breakdown. Proper tire maintenance, including regular inspections and rotations, can help prevent these issues.
  • Engine problems: Issues with the engine, such as overheating, oil leaks, or failed components, can cause a vehicle to break down. Regular maintenance and timely repairs are crucial to avoiding these problems.
  • Alternator or starter failure: If the alternator fails, it can drain the battery, leaving you stranded. Similarly, a faulty starter can prevent the engine from turning over.
  • Transmission issues: Problems with the transmission, such as low fluid levels or worn-out components, can result in a breakdown and potentially costly repairs.
  • Fuel system problems: Clogged fuel filters, faulty fuel pumps, or other issues with the fuel system can prevent the engine from receiving the necessary fuel, causing it to stall or fail to start.

The Dangers of Mechanical Breakdowns

Imagine you’re cruising down the highway when suddenly your vehicle starts to sputter and lose power. You’re forced to pull over onto the shoulder, leaving you vulnerable on the side of the road. This scenario is not uncommon, and it can have severe consequences.

One of the most significant dangers of a vehicle breakdown is the potential for a secondary collision. When a vehicle is stopped on the shoulder or in a travel lane, it becomes a hazard for other motorists. Distracted, fatigued, or impaired drivers may fail to notice the stopped vehicle, leading to a rear-end collision or a sideswipe accident.

Furthermore, breakdowns can occur in remote areas or during inclement weather conditions, leaving drivers and passengers exposed to the elements. This can be particularly dangerous in Utah, where temperatures can fluctuate dramatically, and winter storms can create treacherous conditions on the roads.

Follow These Actions If You Have a Mechanical Issue on the Road

If you find yourself experiencing a vehicle breakdown, it’s essential to remain composed and take the necessary precautions.

  1. Find a safe place: If possible, try to pull over onto the shoulder or exit the highway altogether. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers of your presence.
  2. Phone for assistance: Contact a tow truck or roadside assistance service to help get your vehicle to a repair shop.
  3. Set up warning devices: If you have flares, reflective triangles, or other warning devices, place them behind your vehicle to alert approaching drivers of the hazard.
  4. Remain visible: If you must exit your vehicle, wear bright or reflective clothing to increase your visibility to other motorists.
  5. Contact an attorney – if you are involved in an accident through no fault of your own, contact an experienced attorney. Our lawyers at Monge & Associates will represent you in court and fight for compensation. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states, including Utah, Washington, and Ohio.

UTAH’s Efforts to Address the Issue

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) recognizes the dangers posed by vehicle breakdowns and has implemented several initiatives to improve roadway safety.

One such initiative is the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP), a program that dispatches trucks to assist motorists with minor breakdowns, flat tires, or other roadside emergencies. The FSP operates during peak travel times on heavily trafficked highways in the Salt Lake Valley, helping to clear incidents quickly and reduce the risk of secondary accidents.

UDOT also encourages drivers to be prepared for emergencies by keeping essential items in their vehicles, such as a spare tire, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit. Additionally, they promote defensive driving practices and remind motorists to stay alert and avoid distractions while on the road.

A vehicle breakdown can be a significant issue across the United States, costing the economy an estimated $41 billion per year. In Utah, these mechanical issues can lead to dangerous situations on the road, putting drivers and passengers at risk of accidents. If you’ve experienced a breakdown or been involved in an accident because of one, contact an attorney, such as our lawyers at Monge & Associates, for advice.

You can contact us on (888) 477-0597 or visit one of our offices for a free consultation.