The Survivor’s Guide to Driving in Salt Lake City, Utah

Guide to driving in Salt Lake City, Utah
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*Disclaimer: this is meant to be a satirical guide to navigating the streets and highways of Salt Lake City, Utah. I love to drive and have found myself driving along various roads that wrap around islands, criss-cross in front of trains, and cut through the desert. This post represents my feelings as a California driver, currently navigating my way though Salt Lake City’s erratic and perilous driving culture, while also trying to highlight some of the stark problems I face daily: passive and distracted drivers. Every single “tip” offered comes from first-hand experience and is to be read in jest


As always, please follow the speed limits, laws, and have common sense while driving anywhere!*


So, you want to visit Salt Lake City, do ya? You’ve got your plane ticket purchased, your rental car reserved, your Citymaps app downloaded with several points of interest saved…you’re raring to go! Before you jump behind the wheel of your rented Toyota crossover with California plates, I offer you this guide to help guide you through the Beehive State, because hey! This ain’t New York, kid: you’re in Utah now…


On the road in Zion


#1 – Always over-hesitate at the STOP sign. Even if you get to the STOP sign before the truck to your right, hesitate to see if he’s going to go first. You probably have the right-of-way since you arrived at the 4-way STOP first, but it’s best to wait and see what the truck is going to do. Plus, it’s kind of fun to release the brake at the same time as him, only to have both of you pumping your breaks simultaneously. It’s like a guessing game to see who is going to actually commit and fully enter the intersection first.


#2 – Go ahead and run the red lights. Even if you’re turning left and are 3 cars back when the light changes from yellow to red. As long as the car ahead of you is still moving, you’ll be able to make it through the intersection. People will wait for you, even though they’ve had a green light for 3 seconds already.


#3 – No need to yield while merging. While trying to change lanes on the surface streets, it’s advisable to either leave your turn signal on for 30 seconds, or not at all, before cutting off the person next to you. And when merging onto the freeway, it’s probably not the best idea to match the other cars’ speed. It’s good if everyone just slows down a bit, especially the big trucks that always love to slam on their brakes.


#4 – The Fast Lane of the highway is a good place to go slow. There’s a thing in Utah called being a left-lane loafer and it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think? If people are speeding in the fast lane, it is up to you to slow them down. Head over and just cruise 1-2mph under the speed limit so they get the message. Believe me: they’ll say “thank you” with their horns! Remember, the police can’t be everywhere, so it’s up to you to make sure everyone else is going the speed limit, no matter what.


#5 – No need to use your turn signal. It’s really nobody’s business where you’re going.


#6 – Tailing the person in front of you is encouraged, this way they know you’re there. And when the person in front of you switches lanes, it’s not to let you pass; rather, it’s a game of follow-the-leader. Get right back behind them, no matter what. They might adjust their speed to see if you’re committed to following them.


#7 – Being on your cell phone and texting is only illegal if you get caught. Trust me, everyone that you pass will believe that you’re smiling, laughing, and talking to your crotch. You have things to do and your friends just can’t wait to hear from you!


#8 – When exiting a parking lot, pull halfway out of the driveway and stop. You’re only doing it right if people have to go around you. The further you pull out of the driveway, the more time people have to move over and let you decide how long you want to be prairie-dogging it.


#9 – Get offended when people honk at you. Even though most drivers in other parts of the country and world use horns for a variety of reasons, that just isn’t how we do things in Utah. Sure, in California I might use a horn for communicating to other drivers, but it Utah it’s just plain rude. Who knows why they even put horns on the steering wheel?!


#10 – Gridlock sounds like a big deal, but it really isn’t. I mean, if your light was green and you made it into the intersection, it’s not really your fault if you get stuck and your light turns red. Just ignore the person next to you, waving their arms and gesturing madly. They just don’t get it: they can go around you. Even when the light-rail train is coming towards you, it’ll stop. Don’t worry.


#11 – And above all else, have fun. Race your neighbor. Cut them off, get road rage, and shake your fist.


As mentioned above, this is a satirical guide to navigating the often perilous streets of Salt Lake City, Utah. In no way should this guide be taken seriously, other than to outline many of the crazy drivers I see every day.


I am from Los Angeles, and consequently have to deal with the stereotypes that plague Southern California drivers. We are aggressive, yes, but only because everyone else is and we don’t want anyone to hit our cars. In my experience, passive driving leads to increased tickets, accidents, and road-rage.


If you are visiting Salt Lake City, read this guide lightly. Every city has their own stereotypical drivers, and not all drivers are created equal. Not all Utahns are poor, passive, or distracted drivers, and not all Californians are auditioning to be in The Fast and The Furious franchise.


As always, please follow the laws of the road and be aware of your surroundings.


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26 thoughts on “The Survivor’s Guide to Driving in Salt Lake City, Utah

  1. LOL. I loved your disclaimers at the beginning AND end. Sometimes the internet can’t take a joke! I am from Boston and the people there tend to “drive with purpose,” so I feel ya on the passive driving.

  2. Haha. I can’t help but laugh hard. ‘Get offended when people honk at you’ like by force anger. If not for the disclaimer notice, I’d love to try these driving rules. Are I’d be locked up for days.

  3. Love it. Prior to reading your post, I was looking forward to visiting Utah to see Zion National Park, go canyoning and take in the natural beauty of the area. Now I have another great reason. On my way to these fabulous destinations and landmarks, I can partake in observing the antics of the drivers in the area… Great post!

  4. I wish there were guides like this for driving everywhere around the world. Surprisingly enough, here in India, we go through this every day, so it’s more of a everyday reality for me. Still, the US is a great place for road trips and something we need to find a little humour in everything to make this world a little lighter.

  5. hahaha shame I would not want to be driving there if thats how people behave. I am from Cape Town and I must say we get a few of those drivers here as well! Good luck 😛

  6. Ha! Love that you had to add disclaimers to this one. I didn’t notice any issues with Utah drivers while there, but we stuck mostly to the southern part of the state. One thing is certain though: EVERY state thinks they have the worst drivers! Lol.

  7. This post is hilarious! So many are so recognizable and annoying! Have to admit I had a hard time with some traffic rules in the States as some are just quite different from driving in Europe, but it is always interesting. #11 is just the best one, LOL.

  8. The good thing about driving in the US is that you can undertake the left lane loafers. In the UK it’s illegal to undertake so the left lane ( right lane in our case) loafers can cause a huge tail back! I think I’ll enjoy driving in Salt Lake City a whole lot more when I visit on my next road trip.

  9. You had me cracking up reading this post. I always struggle with drivers who either don’t follow the traffic laws or don’t even know they exist. I could only imagine what it’s like in Utah or even in California!

  10. This is so funny! I’ve never been to Salt Lake City, and was thinking, this sounds like a dangerous place to drive haha. Not sure the driving was so great in southern California when I was there, but then again, I’m a pretty bad driver myself!

  11. Hahaha, loved this post! Sorry you have to deal with so much hectic driving in Utah. Tbh though, you mentioned driving in SoCal, and I can’t deal with the drivers there. 80MPH is the norm there, like what. I made my friend drive the entire time we were there because I was too scared lol.

  12. Too funny! You literally covered almost all the bad stereotypical drivers that exists in this world. Glad that you prefer SoCal traffic, I personally don’t feel like it’s all that bad. Now you gave some ideas to do when encountering an annoying driver, JK!

  13. Haha I love a funny write up like this! We love to be on the road and road trips are in our opinion the best, but there are some crazy fools behind the wheel we come across during our travels. Salt Lake City is still on the backlist tho, so we better be prepared 😉

  14. What a great and hilarious guide. I love the part where you say not to use you indicators as it is no bodies business where you are going 🙂 I have driven all over the world and think your guide suits many places. And of course I agree with your final point to follow the laws of the road. Thanks for putting a smile on my face 🙂

  15. LOLLL…took my a minute to realize this was a satire 🙂 We are from Quebec and are also known for being agressive drivers, so I can totally relate 🙂 Very funny stuff.

  16. Haha! I don’t think I ever want to drive in Salt Lake City! It sounds way too crazy & dangerous; crossing red lines, no yielding, no indicators…yikes! I think I’ll just Uber! 🙂

  17. Very funny! 🙂 I’m from Northern California and I always used to think LA drivers are worst than us.. ha ha. The slowest drivers I have seen were in Portland, not sure why but no one was speeding there. We did the drive to Salt Lake City few years ago, probably took a different route though but it was an interesting drive. On our way back home we drove the Loneliest Road of America. It was fun!

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