Life, as we know it, has been entirely altered by the novel coronavirus. With federal, state, and local governments pushing forward with strict social distancing and stay at home orders, more drivers are staying indoors and away from the roads.
But streets and freeways are still open. They just have a lot fewer cars on them.
If you’ve done driving recently, hopefully, for essential reasons only, you’ve seen the eerie sights of nearly empty streets and freeways all across town.
But with the newfound emptiness, it could mean that more drivers become nonchalant and take the empty roads as opportunities exceed the speed limit.
Driving too fast is a significant factor for deaths and injuries. In 2018 more than 20% of speed-related incidents were fatal crashes. During this time of social distancing and staying home, we still need to keep this statistic in mind for many reasons.
Critical resources like police and first-responders will be severely limited because of the coronavirus. Drivers may feel a sense of invincibility and engage in risky behavior like speeding and other types of traffic violations. Less police presence on the road may increase these feelings.
Speeding endangers everyone involved, not just the driver. It can put pedestrians and passengers at risk. Emergency rooms will already be flooded to capacity attending to no only patients ill with the virus, but with every-day emergencies like heart attacks and other medical emergencies.
A drastic reduction in traffic-related injuries is precisely the type of relief that medical personnel needs at this time. This is why, during this time, it is vital that we only get behind the wheel for essentials, like grocery shopping and picking up prescriptions. If you can avoid driving, do so.
Speeding can lead to all types of consequences, including:
Most of us have been guilty of driving at excessive speeds at one time or another. We can probably answer our own question as to why we chose to drive faster than usual on that one day. However, below are some of the apparent reasons why people speed.
Being late is one of the most common reasons for speeding. We are running late to work, an important appointment, or something else. It’s always important to remember the saying, “better late than never” during these circumstances.
You can think of this phrase in other ways, such as “better late than potentially injuring or causing death to someone else.” You may be able to survive a high-speed impact, but another person may not.
Speeding can be the result of bad driving habits or out of emotion. Whether it’s feelings of anger, aggression, or disappointment, our driving can reflect how we feel inside. But being upset or angry is not an excuse for negligence.
Road rage is definitely a big issue on our roads. We have seen news footage of drivers acting in very aggressive ways, sometimes even assaulting another driver.
The roads are not the right places to let out some steam. When driving, it is best to stay calm and keep your cool. Your emotions can put your life in danger as well as the lives of other human beings.
As of the writing of this post, most people are working from home, and kids are being homeschooled. Non-essential businesses and events have been canceled. Being late is less of an issue nowadays.
However, speeding out of anonymity could increase. As we now have seen, the roads are nearly empty, and the sights and sounds of suffocating L.A. traffic seem like another era. This will give a lot of folks the sense that nobody is watching them. But even during this time, there still have been high-speed pursuit incidents on L.A. freeways, something we all know is very much a part of Southern California.
The desolate freeways will turn into breeding grounds for these types of drivers and may even inspire some of the best among us to let our guard down drive faster than usual. It could lead to more drivers exceeding posted speed limits.
It is safe to assume that during the coming weeks, or even months, while the country is at a standstill, traffic collisions will decline. However, it will be interesting to see whether there will be a disproportionate ratio of auto accidents as a result of speeding than from other types of causes. If this proves to be the case, it can mean that while there may be fewer car accidents overall, those that do occur, can end up being more deadly.
The nearly empty roads can give us a false sense of safety. Nevertheless, we have to be extra cautious about not only watching our driving behavior but for keeping an eye out for dangerous driving from other motorists.
Always practice common-sense. For example, if a car behind you is tailgating, change lanes and let them pass you. As frustrating as it feels, don’t be tempted to act aggressively. If you do get into an accident, follow the same procedures of exchanging information and reporting it to your insurance. Essential services remain open at this time, including insurance claim centers and body shops.
It is not just speeding that we need to keep an eye out for, but also distracted driving like texting and engaging in other types of behaviors. Fewer cars on the road make it feel like it’s “safer” to send that text that you normally wouldn’t send during regular traffic.
The coronavirus has changed virtually every aspect of our lives, including our driving habits. It is important to remember that proper driving etiquette applies under all circumstances, and as a society, we have the responsibility to be courteous and follow the law.
Courtesy and being kind to each other is important more than ever before, even during social distancing. Be sure to do it on the road as well.
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