The Weather Woes: How Extreme Conditions Exacerbate the Risk of Fatal Car Crashes in Utah

Utah’s varied climate and geography mean drivers face everything from blinding snowstorms to extreme heat. While seasoned locals know how to handle the state’s weather extremes, many drivers underestimate the risks of driving in poor conditions. Unfortunately, data shows that’s a potentially fatal mistake.

Studies have found that adverse weather significantly increases the likelihood of fatal car crashes. In Utah, where the weather can turn treacherous in an instant, drivers need to be hyper-aware of how conditions impact road safety. By understanding the risks, drivers can make smart decisions to reduce their chances of an accident.

Blizzards and Whiteout Conditions

For Utah drivers, snow is a fact of life. While cities like Salt Lake are well-equipped to clear roads, snowfall can make driving hazardous. Low visibility during heavy snowfall is especially dangerous. Whiteout conditions occur when falling and blowing snow reduce visibility so severely that roads, landscape features, and even other vehicles are indistinguishable.

Studies show that snowfall increases accident risk for two key reasons: reduced traction and decreased visibility. Vehicles can lose control on snowy or icy roads. And with visibility impaired, drivers may not see stopped vehicles, pedestrians, or road hazards. Research indicates fatality rates increase dramatically during snowstorms compared to clear conditions.

Intense Rainfall and Flooding

While Utah is known for powder days, drivers also have to contend with intense rainfall. Summer monsoons and fall storms can cause flash flooding, which poses a major road hazard. Flooded roads or tunnels can be extremely dangerous to drive through. Even just a few inches of water can sweep away a vehicle.

Besides flooding, heavy rain also reduces visibility and traction like snowfall. The risk is heightened because summer storms are intermittent and can catch drivers off-guard. Drivers may find themselves suddenly in zero-visibility conditions if they encounter a downpour. Studies show rainy weather leads to significantly more car accidents and fatalities compared to dry conditions.

Scorching Heat and Sun Glare

Utah’s summers bring another weather challenge: extreme heat. Research indicates hotter temperatures increase aggressive driving behaviors like speeding, tailgating, and road rage. Aggressive driving is strongly linked to a higher risk of car crashes.

Intense sun glare can also impair visibility in the summer. Sun glare is especially dangerous during Utah’s early morning and late afternoon commutes, when the sun is low on the horizon. Glare can momentarily blind drivers, hiding obstacles or other vehicles ahead. Data indicates sun glare contributes to a higher rate of daytime accidents.

Playing it Safe in Bad Weather

Utah drivers have to be ready for anything, from blizzards to dust storms. While the state works diligently to maintain safe roads, conditions can change in an instant. By using caution and avoiding unnecessary risks in bad weather, drivers can reduce their chances of a crash. Maintaining safe following distance, reducing speed, and postponing non-essential trips during storms are wise precautions. Being prepared and paying attention to forecasts is also key. For Utah drivers, knowledge and vigilance are essential to stay safe through any weather extremes.

If you crashed because of bad weather and another driver’s negligence, talk to us. We have offices in 32 locations and 19 states, including Utah, Ohio, and Washington.

Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597.