(ABC4 Utah) More than 1,200 people die each year in the United States, and thousands are injured, in hiking, bicycle, ATV, rollerblade, scooter, or skateboard accidents. 

With summer heating up, Intermountain Healthcare trauma experts are reminding Utahns about the importance of staying safe when out recreating in Utah’s mountains, canyons, and lakes – or driving to the next adventure in the great outdoors.

They say knowing how to stay safe, preparing in advance, and using the right safety gear is key to having a safe and healthy summer. 

“Traumas can happen anytime, anywhere, and any place,” said Teresa Brunt, RN, Intermountain Healthcare trauma outreach coordinator for Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. “There are things we can all do to prevent life-threatening injuries.”

Intermountain emergency and trauma teams have five safety reminders to help everyone have a safer summer and help avoid a trip to the emergency room. 


Fatal car crashes typically nearly double during the summer months in Utah. 

In 2020, Utah’s traffic fatalities reached a 14-year-high and 276 people did not survive. In 2022 the Utah Department of Transportation reports 136 fatalities in the first six months of the year. The most common contributing factor to roadway fatalities, according to UDOT is failure to buckle up. 

In fact, over the last five years, almost half of all people who died on Utah’s roads were not buckled up. In 2021, there were 84 unrestrained fatalities on Utah roads and 50 percent of the fatalities in the first three months of this year were unrestrained.

“The act of buckling up is not just a personal decision it affects everyone around you. It can save your life and the lives of those in your vehicle,” said Brunt. “It only takes a few seconds, but can keep you from becoming a statistic.” 


“The huge key to saving your life is wearing the right equipment – including a helmet,” said Brunt. “People involved in accidents wearing helmets are far more likely to survive and get back on that motorcycle, bike, scooter, or ATV. Those who don’t wear a helmet end up with a longer recovery time or don’t recover at all.”

Specifically, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and reduce the risk of death by 42 percent.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcycle riders in 2017 and that 749 more lives in all states could have been saved if all motorcycle riders had worn helmets. 


“Don’t forget there is more to protective gear than just a helmet,” said Brunt. “Goggles, over-the-ankle boots, gloves, sturdy full-length pants, a long-sleeved shirt and the right footwear are great at taking a little punishment if you take crash.”

Whenever possible, use approved DOT/SNELL gear. Look for the DOT symbol on the outside back; this means it meets Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.


Rivers in Utah are running high, cold, and fast this time of year. Drowning is the second leading cause of death among Utah children under the age of 14.  

Experts at Primary Children’s Hospital have these general water safety guidelines:

  • Empty out kiddie pools or buckets of water at home after use
  • Have children wear a life jacket whenever near water
  • Never take your eyes off of children in the water
  • While supervising, stay alert and avoid distractions
  • Teach children to swim, but remember, there is no substitute for supervision
  • Keep a telephone nearby in case of an emergency


If you are injured this summer, do not delay care. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

If you would like additional information or tips, visit the Intermountain Healthcare website.

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