While COVID-19 affects society in many different ways, some are surprised to hear of its impact on the American roadways.
With fewer people commuting to work, events being canceled, and an emphasis on social distancing, road traffic has declined during the pandemic. Interestingly, this reduction in cars on the road has led to an increase in accident fatality rates.
A National Safety Council study found that Connecticut saw its roadway fatalities rise by 42% in the early stages of the pandemic, a higher rate than any other state. Moreover, another report found that fatal one-car crashes more than quadrupled in March and April.
This rise in car accidents can be attributed to at least a couple of factors.
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First, with fewer vehicles on the road, there is more space to drive. This means that the flow of traffic is quicker, the road is clearer, and it is easier to speed without realizing how fast you are going. Yet even if the roadway seems safer, accidents are still bound to happen when motorists ignore the posted speed limit. Unfortunately, these high-speed accidents are more dangerous than the accidents that happen at lower speeds on congested roadways, leading to rising fatality rates.
Second, some drivers may take advantage of the open roads and lax police presence to see how fast their vehicles can go. In a time where social functions and entertainment events have been canceled, this may be one of the few forms of fun available. With that willingness to take risks, drivers are more likely to lose control at the wheel.
In each scenario, single-accident crashes may occur between a high-speed vehicle and a stationary object. The force of an accident is, therefore, more likely to result in catastrophic injuries or fatalities.
What Connecticut Drivers Can Do to Be Safe
With a coronavirus second wave potentially shutting down parts of the state, drivers should remember that the rules of the road still apply and take the appropriate precautions to ensure road safety.
An accident during a pandemic further strains first responder services and risks COVID-19 transmission. To help do your part in maintaining a safe road, abide by the posted speed limit, pay attention to your surroundings, and plan your route ahead of time.
Law enforcement may ramp up speed enforcement efforts as well, so driving your vehicle at the posted speed is the best way to travel safely without issues. As always, be sure to be a courteous driver on the road and stay safe during the pandemic.