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This morning I had to drive to work instead of taking the bus. On my way to work (approx. 25 miles) I saw four car accidents. Three of them involved more than two cars. The kicker is that all four were within three miles of each other.
This got me thinking about a conversation I had this weekend with my brother. We both went on a four-day road trip to San Diego to visit family and friends. We had a discussion on the way back about the comparison between Socal drivers and Utah drivers.
I can barely remember any accidents on the freeway during my childhood (I lived in San Diego until moving away to go to BYU). Sure, you’d have your occasional gnarly accident, but there was nowhere near the amount of fender benders you see in Utah, which from what I’ve seen make up around 90% of car accidents up here.
I think it boils down to the assertiveness and aggressiveness of drivers. You can’t fix this problem by adding a lane to the freeway, increasing the speed limit, or anything else. It’s a state of mind.
Utah drivers, from my experience, are mostly defensive drivers. They turn on their signal, look over their shoulder, start crossing over into another lane, and then jerk back to their originating lane when they see the car behind them not slam on the brakes to let them in.
And then you get the looky-loos that create bottlenecks anytime there’s an accident. These are the type that drop down to 10 mph when they approach an accident so they can check it out. The domino effect then trickles through to everybody behind them, backing up traffic for miles. And then as a result, you get more fender benders (such as the four I saw today) with even more people slowing to see for themselves.
Driving this weekend in San Diego was great. I miss it. Everybody is assertive, considerate, and knows how to drive on a freeway!
I can’t wait to take the bus again tomorrow.