The coronavirus pandemic has created a national health crisis. Americans are responding to the crisis by staying at home as much as possible. Spending more time at home has reduced the amount of traffic on national roadways by 41 percent. While it might seem like that would reduce the risk of car crashes, the opposite has been true. The lack of traffic has led to an increase in reckless driving. Drivers are flying down interstates, highways, and streets, causing collisions and fatalities to spike.
Reaching Top Speeds
Law enforcement officials across the country have ticketed drivers who are going 100 mph or more. As of May 12, Nebraska State Patrol troopers have pulled over and cited 177 drivers for reaching speeds of over 100 mph. That number is expected to increase while the pandemic is active.
Other states are dealing with speeding, too. Speeds in California have increased by an average of more than 30 percent, with one driver going over 150 mph. Colorado troopers pulled over a driver for going 130 mph, and New York City’s traffic cameras have caught more than twice the number of speeders since the pandemic began.
Why Are People Driving So Quickly?
Different factors come into play regarding why people are diving so fast. First of all, the roads are emptier, giving people more real estate to put the pedal to the metal.
The collective effect might have an even bigger impact, though. When some on the road speed, others tend to follow suit.
People are also dealing with the emotional fallout of the pandemic. They have altered their lifestyles significantly and are adjusting to following a new set of rules. Bucking traffic laws by speeding can make some feel liberated…until they end up in a serious collision. They are putting other people at risk for the thrill of a joy ride.
Also, many people think that police officers aren’t patrolling the roads like they usually do. They believe that since some departments have officers out sick or in self-isolation, they can get away with driving twice the speed limit. Many realize just how wrong they are when they wind up getting pulled over for reckless driving or end up in court after causing a fatality.
Speeding and Distracted Driving: A Deadly Combination
As more drivers test the limits on the roads during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials have noticed another problem. The speeders are often too distracted to pay attention to their surroundings. Motorists are using their phones more often than before, causing them to brake harder when they encounter obstacles.
On the surface, it seems strange that distracted driving would increase during the pandemic, but it makes sense when you consider living in the age of social distancing. People are more anxious and have grown attached to their cell phones while sheltering in place. That attachment carries over to when they are driving, creating a hazardous situation on the roads. As long as this continues, crashes will continue to increase.
Stay Safe on the Roads
Right now, you need to keep two things in mind when driving down the roads. First, don’t use the pandemic as an excuse to drive recklessly. Reckless driving makes you a threat to yourself and others. Second, be mindful of other drivers on the road. Since so many people are reaching dangerous speeds, be vigilant. Keep your eyes open for drivers who are going too fast and get out of their way if possible. Also, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement if a driver is putting people at risk on the road.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car crash, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. The attorneys here at Friedman Law Offices, in Lincoln, Nebraska, have been advocating for the rights of injury victims since 1962. Our trial lawyers are know throughout the state for their quality legal representation, and we are willing to work the hard cases that other firms pass up.