Despite an enormous drop in traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Maryland’s roads are more dangerous than ever. Why? Bad drivers.
They’re distracted. They’re drunk. They’re speeding. They’re stressed out by the pandemic. And often, they’re just plain careless toward others on the road.
It’s like a second pandemic that’s plaguing our streets, causing additional severe injuries and deaths across the nation. Here’s why COVID-19 seems to cause such bad driving.
Empty Streets are Full of Bad Drivers
The Washington Post found that America’s road traffic dropped by up to 68% during the early days of the pandemic and has remained about 41% lower overall. But empty streets aren’t safer streets.
Safety experts say when drivers have the perception of less traffic on the roads, their bad driving behavior tends to increase. They pay less attention to driving and are less worried about being stopped by the police. Some just can’t resist exceeding the speed limit, rolling through stop signs, and otherwise taking advantage of mostly-empty roads.
More people are driving under the influence, too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of drivers testing positive for alcohol and other intoxicating substances has risen sharply during COVID-19.
The NHTSA studied severe and fatal crashes throughout the pandemic, and the percentage of intoxicated drivers has been consistently high – between 51% and 61%. These intoxicated drivers are causing catastrophic crashes with thousands of life-changing injuries and deaths.
The Distractions of Stress and Illness
Across the nation, more people than ever are feeling intense pressure and stress from dealing with the long-term effects of the pandemic. And as they worry about their financial woes and family problems, they may be too distracted to drive safely.
Being ill itself is also a danger on the road. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include things that may interfere with safe driving, like headaches, muscle aches, fever, upset stomach, and breathing problems.
It’s best to stay home when you can’t drive safely, but that’s tricky for many people. An Uber driver or grocery delivery driver who’s trying to support their family may feel that they have to hit the road to make money – despite being sick, fatigued, and totally stressed out.
What to Do After an Accident During the Pandemic
No matter the reason, bad driving puts other people at risk of severe injuries and death. While there might be fewer cars on the road right now, the intensity of recent crashes is quite concerning.
Here in Maryland, traffic safety investigators say the pandemic’s widespread effect on accidents, traffic, and transit patterns may have a lasting impact. Young drivers are watching their parents’ bad habits and may develop similar driving behaviors that will persist for decades to come.
So if you ever find yourself in an accident due to someone else’s bad driving, contact an experienced Maryland car accident attorney. At Zirkin & Schmerling Law, we have compassion for people struggling with the ongoing effects of the pandemic and we’re here to help you protect your rights and hold a bad driver responsible for injuring you.
Have a Legal Question? We Have Answers
When you need to learn more about your rights, the attorneys at Zirkin & Schmerling Law can help. Contact us or call us at (410) 753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our experienced accident lawyers today.