SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — A campaign hosted by Zero Fatalities is urging Utah motorists to go “back to basics” this summer — reminding travelers to prioritize safe driving practices on the road.

The effort is promoted ahead of the period between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day (a.k.a. 100 Deadliest Days) when road fatalities in Utah are nearly doubled compared to the rest of the year.

This campaign is considered crucial by officials and instructors alike as, over time, motorists young and old tend to forget the “basics” of road safety, which leads to more unnecessary crashes and fatalities around the state and beyond.

“In a lot of us, it’s been decades since we’ve had this type of training,” says John Gleason with the Utah Department of Transportation. “There used to be a real emphasis on being ‘defensive drivers’ and I think we need to get back to that…”

According to UDOT, the top four leading causes for all crashes on Utah highways are following too closely, failing to yield right-of-way, driving too fast for the conditions, and making unsafe lane changes/staying in the proper lane.

“The basics are what really keep us safe,” remarks Gary Daniels, drivers ed instructor with Hillcrest High School in Midvale. “If everyone will just do the basics when they’re out on the road… I think we can all just be safer on the roads, and we can all work together to get home.”

Zero Fatalities offers a simple quiz to “Test your knowledge on safe driving” via their website, as well as basic information on rules of the road, signaling, right-of-way, and vulnerable users.

Some of the basics to remember include:


“Keep at least two seconds between your car and the vehicle in front. Watch when the rear of the vehicle ahead passes a sign, pole, or any other fixed point. Count the seconds it takes you to reach the same point (one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two.) You are following too close if you pass that point before counting two seconds.”


“When changing lanes, you must be aware of traffic in front, sides, and behind you. This includes looking for bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Make the necessary traffic checks first by looking in your mirrors and checking your blind spots by looking over your shoulder (head check).”


“Wear your seat belt every trip, every time. Seat belt use isn’t just a personal decision, it affects everyone in the vehicle, and on the road. Also, avoid distracted driving, including using mobile phones while driving.”


“Good drivers always signal their intentions well in advance. Signals are required: Anytime you pull away from the curb and two seconds before turning or changing lanes.”