Avoid a costly mistake

Stationary object accidents are the most common auto claim filed at the U.

The University of Utah is a community, educational and professional hub where every day, thousands of people meet to work, play, learn, eat and so much more. The number of services offered on campus is ever-expanding, and infrastructure development is rushing to keep up with the increased demand. With large numbers of people driving to and from campus every day, it is an unfortunate reality that there will be a few automotive accidents. However, it may interest you to know that the most common type of auto insurance claim filed at the U is also the most avoidable.

They’re called stationary object accidents, and just like the name implies, it means a car colliding with a non-moving object, like a lamppost or fire hydrant. Most of the time, they happen because the driver is in a hurry or distracted, and they aren’t paying close attention to their surroundings. What is ironic is that while they are the most common auto claim filed here at the U, stationary object accidents are also the most avoidable. Here are some tips for how to avoid a costly mishap.

Plan your trip

Know where you’re headed and how you’re going to get there. Figuring this out before you leave gives you more opportunity to focus on the road while you’re driving.

Check your surroundings and get to know the vehicle

Make sure you’re aware of what’s around you before you start driving. Do a lap of your car and make sure there aren’t any difficult-to-see obstacles that you may hit. Every vehicle is different, and getting to know the individual characteristics of your vehicle, its unique shape and handling, will also help you avoid an accident.

Secure your cargo 

A loose board sticking out of the back of a truck, or a roof rack that hasn’t been locked down can be a recipe for disaster. Make sure all the cargo on or in your vehicle is secure, and you’re aware of exactly where it is before you leave.

Eliminate any distractions

Distracted driving is a risk to everyone, not just yourself. Turn your phone off, don’t turn your music up too loud and don’t eat or drink while you drive.

Avoid fatigue

When you’re tired or mentally drained, focusing becomes much more difficult. Take a moment to check on yourself before you depart. Do you need a short break? A nap? Some food? Take care of yourself so that when you’re driving, you’ll have a clear head and be able to properly focus.

Pay attention in parking garages

Please take a minute before entering a parking garage to think about what vehicle you are driving and consider the height as well as whether the vehicle has a roof rack.

For more information about driver training programs, please refer to the U Risk & Insurance website.