SALT LAKE CITY — New Year’s resolutions don’t have to end by getting healthy or saving money. As the countdown to 2024 begins, AAA wants drivers to resolve breaking bad habits behind the wheel.

The scene of an incident at the Santa Clara River on Old Highway 91 near Ivins, Utah, Oct. 27, 2023 | Photo by Haven Scott, St. George News

“Speed, impaired driving, and distractions significantly contribute to motor vehicle crashes,” said AAA Utah spokesperson Julian Paredes. “As we prepare to begin the New Year, let’s collectively pledge to make the roads safer for everyone.”

According to a media release from AAA’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, drivers aren’t taking dangerous driving behaviors — such as speeding — as seriously as they used to.

That’s why AAA Utah is challenging drivers to challenge themselves with these New Year’s resolutions that everyone can live with. 

Know your limits 

How often do you witness cars zooming past you on the highway? More than 22 percent of drivers admit to traveling 15 mph over the speed limit on the highway, and nearly half say they would speed even with a chance of being pulled over.

Slowing down won’t just save drivers from getting a ticket, it will keep them safe by giving them more time to react to unexpected road hazards.

Aftermath of an alleged distracted driving incident in Hurricane, Utah, March 20, 2023 | Photo by Layce Lundy, St. George News

Eyes on the road

Did you know that 20 percent of drivers admit to distracted and aggressive driving behaviors, including texting while driving, running red lights and changing lanes too quickly? Be a safer driver in the coming year by using driver focus mode, or silencing notifications on phones when behind the wheel.

Hand them over

Nearly all drivers (9 out of 10) admit that driving under the influence is extremely dangerous, but 7% responding the survery said they did just that — in the past 30 days. Plan ahead for a fun night out and get home safely by sticking to a game plan that involves a designated driver, using a ride-share service or opting for public transportation.

Move over for emergency crews

2018 file photo of emergency responders on Pioneer Parkway in Santa Clara, Utah, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Slowing down and changing lanes, assuming it’s safe to do so, when you see first responders or law enforcement on the side of the road is not a suggestion or safety tip — it is a law in all 50 states.

Yet, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 71% of Americans are unaware the law even exists.

When drivers see flashing lights or emergency personnel on the road shoulder ahead, remember to slow down and move over, granting first responders and roadside workers the space they need to perform their duties.

AAA has 5,300 employees representing 6 million members across California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Alaska. In addition to roadside assistance, AAA offers home, auto and life insurance, travel and home security services. To learn more, visit their website.

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