Dear Utah Drivers,
I wouldn’t be writing this letter if I hadn’t almost died almost every single day I’ve been driving here in Utah. You’re probably thinking, “That’s such an exaggeration,” but it really isn’t. Coming from Hawaii, I can still remember the first time I got onto the freeway to visit my great aunt in Salem, Utah. They say new drivers have white knuckles. To be honest, I’ve been driving for a good amount of time, so there’s no reason for me to have white knuckles, but I can honestly say that sometimes when I drive on Utah roads, I’m gripping the steering wheel like nobody’s business. I’ve heard terrible things about Utah drivers, but my experience in driving on Utah roads and freeways has proven to me that this is one of the worst places to drive.
When I went back to Hawaii, I was incredibly relieved with the way people drove there, because Hawaii drivers are slower, more courteous, and there’s a general spirit of aloha on the road (seriously, we’re always waving to eachother, even if we are total strangers). There’s a sticker that people put on their cars in Hawaii. It’s a good reminder, especially to tourists and visitors, to “Slow down. This ain’t the mainland.”
I wish there were some kind of a sticker reminder here in Utah to that says something like, “bruh, drive with aloha” because I can’t count the many times I’ve almost been t-boned, merged into, or cut off–basically the many times I almost died or got into an unnecessary accident. There’s a sign on the highway that says there were 27 deaths on Utah roads in July–in JULY! That’s in one month! Why is this happening? If all drivers were a little more considerate of others and obedient to the laws, then we probably wouldn’t have these problems. But I don’t think that’s enough. I’ve made a list of the questions that I’d like to ask every Utah driver to consider and ponder.
Why are you tailing me?
I’m literally going the speed limit, and if I’m not going the speed limit, I’m probably going 4-5mph above it. How much faster do you need to go? And why?
Why are you running red lights?
I understand if it’s a faulty brake, but seriously. Why do I always almost get hit by people speeding up when the light is clearly yellow and they’re NOT going to make it? Someone ran a red light and almost t-boned me if I hadn’t slammed on my brakes.
Why are you crossing over into my lane?
I’ve had to swerve away because people don’t know how to stay in their lane. The number one reason for this? As far as I’ve seen it’s distracted driving. And when I say distracted, I mean that 98% of the time they’re on their phones.
Why don’t you tie down your trash, belongings, supplies, etc?
I get a lot of window chips from things that aren’t tied down or covered. I also get absolutely terrified when there’s a random item in the middle of the highway and everyone is driving at speeds up to 80mph and we’re all swerving to not hit whatever fell off. Also, it makes me anxious to see people walking along the freeway to pick up whatever fell off. 🙈
Why don’t you check your blind spot before merging?
People coming onto the highway… the lane to your left is not always going to be empty.
Why are you braking on the freeway?
This is probably the most frustrating thing. Nobody should be braking on the freeway unless it’s an emergency or they’re getting off the exit. My friend told me that the reason for traffic is that someone around 3 miles up the road tapped their brakes–maybe it was a split second–but that caused a chain reaction until 3 miles down the road everyone hits their brakes because they don’t know what’s going on. Bottom line, don’t drive that close to the person in front of you in the first place.
Why are you on your phone while driving?
Have we not learned our lesson from the numerous examples of people whose lives were ruined, or worse, taken, by texting, talking, or using the phone while driving? I’m not completely innocent of this because I know I glance at my phone occasionally, which is why I literally put my phone away in my bag while I drive so I don’t have the impulse to grab and check it. It’s not worth it.
Why are you driving slow in the left lane?
The left lane is for people who are faster drivers. There are signs all over the road that say “Slower traffic keep right.” I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that.
Why are you speeding through work zones?
Did you miss the sign that says “Fines double for speeding through work zone?” Or maybe you think it’s ok to put the construction workers’ lives in danger?
Why are you making a left turn before I even cross the intersection?
Does it hurt that much to wait two more seconds before making a left turn? These instances have probably been the most stressful for me because I feel like people are going to bang me before I even get a chance to get across. Is it really that hard to be patient for a few more seconds before turning?
I’m just going to stop there, because the list could go on and on. I’ve heard the argument that Utah drivers are a combination of drivers from all over the world, so I can’t stereotype “the Utah driver.” But here’s the thing: No matter where you are, drive safely. Be courteous, be cautious, and be kind. Have some aloha when you drive. I know I’m just this little Hawaii driver and my “slow down, this ain’t the mainland” ideas don’t appropriately apply here, but I think that the concept of driving with aloha definitely applies. It’s not just your own life that you could put at risk, but the lives of many other innocent people. As you drive Utah roads and see the signs reminding of the state’s goals, including no casualties or collisions, they’re good reminders that you should have those driving goals too. Stay safe friends, and drive to arrive alive.