A Russian immigrant found out Sunday afternoon that driving in unfamiliar territory can be a dangerous proposition.

Denis Storozhishchin, 22, who has lived in the Salt Lake area for the past two weeks, was returning from a drive up Big Cottonwood Canyon about 1:45 p.m. when he apparently lost control of his car and plunged over a 50-foot embankment.Storozhishchin said he was trying to slow down as he entered the turn about nine miles up the canyon. He said the car started to slide sideways and he over corrected and drove straight off the embankment.

Fortunately he was wearing a seat belt. "I saw some movies about three weeks ago about what happens without seat belts so I started wearing mine," he said. He said Sunday's experience was dramatic reinforcement.

The unfortunate motorist said he was in the mountains practicing his driving so that he could take his wife for a ride when she arrives from New York later this month.

"Suddenly it was like I was flying," he said of the accident. "I'm glad this was not a Russian car; they are made like paper."