Utah Drivers

Don - April 14, 2005

It never ceases to amaze me, everytime I visit Utah I notice how bad Utah drivers are!

It was a joke when I attended BYU…quite a few years ago.

I own a business in Utah and go there every month or so. It’s still the same. Utah drivers are still terrible. They don’t know what the speed limit is, they change lanes whenever without a signal, they follow too close and they cut you off!

Is this behavior something they are taught in driving school? Is it something they learned from their parents?

You would think that in Utah of all places the drivers would be the most law abiding, the most polite – courteous drivers in the country. Just the opposite seems to be true.

Am I unique here, or have others found this to be true?

1 Comment »

  1. Since many southern Albertans are descended from Utah Mormons, maybe this explains all the bad drivers here.
    Kim Siever | Email | Homepage | 04.14.05 – 6:22 pm | #

    Don-

    Are you talking about Utah drivers in general or specifically Provo drivers?

    If you’re talking mainly about Provo, my question would be: Are there any college towns that are notorious for having good drivers? In my opinion, they’re all the same (bad).

    California drivers are the best. Fast, but in control.
    Rob | Email | Homepage | 04.14.05 – 6:48 pm | #

    I would concur: in the outlaying areas, “Utah drivers” are just “country drivers”… but along the Wasatch front, we’re “confluence drivers”. It’s the kind of driving you get when you don’t have a stable population that can set up a normative driving situation. All those eddies in traffic come from folks with different habits trying to force their driving expectations on others.

    Now Spokane… Spokane has rude drivers: I’ve actually never been cut-off in Utah, but put your signal on in Spokane and folks will speed-up to keep you from merging.

    * grr *

    California has amazingly skilled drivers: Rob is right… fast and in control. But I tell you: I don’t like driving in California. It’s just too fast for me.

    And isn’t this coming from a man in NYC? A city known for hitting pedestrians?

    * raises eyebrow *
    Silus Grok | Email | Homepage | 04.14.05 – 7:50 pm | #

    Op. It’s from Don. Sorry Don, I was thinking for a second that Rusty had been the poster.

    : )
    Silus Grok | Email | Homepage | 04.14.05 – 9:43 pm | #

    As the reddest of the red states, Utah tends to be both socially and politically conservative. Perhaps social conservatism encourages cooperative driving, but political conservatism can include a belief that government ought to stay out of people’s lives as much as possible, and this probably affects the response of drivers to traffic regulations. Depending on the location and the circumstances, drivers in California can be more courteous, more selfish, or even more skilled than their counterparts in Utah, but both of these states tend to have fewer traffic deaths per vehicle mile than other western states.
    Steve S | Email | Homepage | 04.15.05 – 1:51 am | #

    I think there is probably no empirical evidence to back up the completely subjective claim that Utah drivers are the “worst”.
    Jordan | Email | Homepage | 04.15.05 – 12:38 pm | #

    I’m in agreement with you, Don. All of the New Yorkers I know who have spent time in Utah have complained about how bad the drivers are. In New York, driving can be intimidating, but there are definite rules, and the rules make sense. Once you learn them, driving is fine.
    Bryce I | Email | Homepage | 04.15.05 – 3:11 pm | #

    I find on occasion that some people here (in Utah) might do very irritating things. But having lived in Utah, California, Idaho, Florida, and Ohio there is no way you could claim with any validity that Utah drivers are the worst. I have seen bad driving in all five places. But I have also seen some of the most courteous drivers here as well.

    At least in Utah I haven’t heard of one incident of someone pulling out a gun and shooting from one vehicle at another like I did when I lived in the Bay Area. Once I saw two guys in San Francisco get into a fistfight over a parking place. They were duking each other right on the corner of Washington and Montgomery. One time riding MUNI while pulling into West Portal station I saw one of the ticket cops on his three-wheel bike punch a guy in the face through his open window while riding next to him. I’ll take people failing to signal and not knowing the speed limit over California’s driving problems any day.
    Mark | Email | Homepage | 04.15.05 – 7:21 pm | #

    “but political conservatism can include a belief that government ought to stay out of people’s lives as much as possible”

    Not in Utah 8-)
    yddy42 | Email | Homepage | 04.16.05 – 9:00 pm | #

    . but along the Wasatch front, we’re “confluence drivers”. It’s the kind of driving you get when you don’t have a stable population that can set up a normative driving situation. All those eddies in traffic come from folks with different habits trying to force their driving expectations on others. combined with unskilled and you get the kind of driving I remember in Utah.

    You get that in parts of Texas where there is a real influx of people, but it smooths out as they acclimate.

    Interesting post.
    Stephen M (Ethesis) | Email | Homepage | 04.16.05 – 10:49 pm | #

    All I know is that England has the most courteous drivers I’ve ever seen.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 04.17.05 – 2:46 pm | #

    utah drivers are the worst.
    Anonymous | Email | Homepage | 04.21.05 – 8:04 pm | #

    I used to live in Utah and they are very rude. They speed between lights all over the Wasatch Front—not just Provo. I would say Utah drivers are among the worst–definately.
    Anonymous | Email | Homepage | 04.21.05 – 8:05 pm | #

    I might be able to explain why people often don’t signal in Utah. Over and over again, in the years I’ve been here, I’ve found that when I signal to turn into a lane, a driver who is fairly well behind in that lane will speed up (to prevent me from getting in front of them). I can’t figure out why this is so common in Utah — why people respond aggressively to a signal instead of letting you in. But this has been my common and almost everyday experience on the roads here.

    I haven’t stopped signaling myself but I have become more aggressive about moving into a lane. If I signal and I see a car respond by speeding up, I make an effort to get into that lane ahead of them anyway. It’s slightly dangerous — but once you do that I’ve noticed the formerly aggressive driver will suddenly drop back.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 04.22.05 – 9:50 am | #

    I don’t know why Utah has that stereotype. Utah drivers are no worse than most other drivers. The problem that I see comes with the different driving styles (CA vs. country Utahns, etc). California drivers, for as much as they talk themselves up, are not exactly the kings of courtesy either. If you want to merge, you better just ram your way into an opening, or you’ll miss it. Southern states drivers aren’t bad, Hawaiian drivers are pretty good, and Arizona drivers are fine too. The worst drivers I’ve ever seen though, are the drivers in Washington DC. It’s incredible the difference in driving habits when you come down I-95 from Maryland and move on to the Capitol Beltway. DC drivers are just absolutely vicious! I’ve never seen anything like it. They’ll cut you off, swing across every lane of traffic, and otherwise be more agressive than anybody else on the planet.
    Beau | Email | Homepage | 05.02.05 – 6:36 pm | #

    I don’t think that utah drivers are the worst, however, they are the most ignorant selfish drivers I have ever seen. I have never been so angry driving and it is all over utah not just salt lake city.
    T.J. | Email | Homepage | 11.18.05 – 2:20 pm | #

    Name:

    Email:

    Comment: ?

    Commenting by HaloScan.com

    Comment by Comment Restore — November 28, 2005 @ 1:22 am

Leave a comment

RSS feed for comments on this post.