Covid-19 Increases Rate Of Car Crashes Among Drivers: Buckle Up Everyone!
No. You aren’t crazy.
I was taking my dogs to get their nails cut last week, minding my own sweet business, when a black car zoomed up behind me out of seemingly no where. He did so so aggressively, flashing his lights and waving his arms in the air, that I grew concerned that he needed to get by me because he was on his way to an emergency of sorts. As a result, I quickly pulled over and waited for him to drive around.
He didn’t. Instead he slowed down and waited for me to get back on the road, still flashing his lights and waving his arms. He seemed to be yelling inside his vehicle as well. Growing more concerned, I thought maybe something unknown to me had happened to my vehicle of which he spotted and was trying to let me know about, a leaky tire perhaps. But no other drivers around me had, or were currently, indicating such an occurrence had happened so I did not stop my truck to check. The driver ended up riding my tail all the way down the road until I entered the ramp onto the highway. He then excessively endeavored to honk his horn at me as I did. He was sending me a message.
No, I wasn’t driving like a turtle when he originally came upon me. Nor was I being irresponsible with my actions in the least. I was merely driving like a normal, sane individual to an appointment that took a few weeks to arrange. For anyone who has dogs, you know what I mean. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on the dog grooming industry. It’s easier to meet with the Pope than your local dog groomer…not kidding!
I decided to chalk this driver off to yet another “reckless driver” who has allowed his anger to get the best of him and spew out all over the road. Have you been noticing more of these types of drivers lately? I have. Might I mention that it wasn’t long after entering the highway that I noticed another driver, similar to the one of which I just spoke, swerving between lanes, nary a signal light to be had.
A conversation between me and several others over the last few months, I am not alone in noticing or experiencing how treacherous driving today has become. Whether it be a reflection of an enraged and overwhelmed nation, the current state of our law enforcement and new directives therewith or outdated DMV practices and requirements that need to be addressed and updated given the increased population as well as the chaos Covid-19 enacted, driving has become nuts.
As it is true that the number of car crashes has plummeted across the United States due to the decreased volume of traffic on our roads, the rate of crashes is up in many cities as are the injury and fatality rates for drivers and vulnerable users.
“Evidence is beginning to emerge that absent traffic jams during the coronavirus crisis, many drivers are getting more reckless. And because speed is the number one predictor of crash severity, the proportion of people dying per collision is on the rise in many communities. It’s an important asterisk that’s largely missing from media reports about the COVID-19 outbreak’s effect on our streets,” says Kea Wilson of Streets.Blog USA. The National Safety Council supports Wilson’s claims with findings of their own noting a 23.5% increase in fatality rates in May 2020 compared to the prior year at this time and despite the decrease of drivers on the road as well as the 25.5% drop in miles traveled due to the impact of Covid-19 on travel.
So I am not crazy after all. What I’ve observed to be true, actually is, leaving even fewer safe havens in which to relish past our own homes as a result of this pandemic. Our new norm just got even smaller. Or you can just drive and be ever more careful…my choice, in the end. Safety was in fact one of the main reasons I bought my truck in the first place, well that and those two dogs I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Ever try carting around two dogs in sports car? Not pretty.
What this all adds up to is simply this — BE EXTRA CAREFUL WHEN DRIVING TODAY! In other words, pay attention to the road, put down the cell phone, and tell the kids to be quiet in the back seat. Your lives depend on it more than ever before. And remember, speeding may get you there faster but doing so might not “get you there” at all. Slow down. Leave earlier. Or in the worst of all cases, call ahead and let others know that you are running late. Most will understand. For the few that don’t, really consider whether they have your best interest at heart.