If you have traveled anywhere by auto since the beginning of the pandemic, then you have likely noticed a large decrease in the amount of traffic on the roads. This was easy to see throughout New York City, but it was especially noticeable in shopping areas that are usually filled with shoppers.
Three reasons to be cautious on the roads during the Pandemic
(1) Traffic congestion will increase rapidly
Beginning in mid to late March (depending on the city location in which you live) traffic significantly decreased on nearly every roadway in the state of New York. This trend was so noticeable that many car insurance companies began offering refunds to customers.
During this time, many companies with mobile apps began paying close attention to changes in consumer behavior. Many companies monitor customer mobility trends carefully because it affects a variety of aspects such as buying behavior and data. Recently, data has been made available to the public showing how the activity is changing over time in specific cities and regions around the world. These changes could lead to more car accidents.
(2) A majority of drivers enjoyed a long hiatus
Have you ever felt as if accidents on the roads seem to increase as a result of the first strong thunderstorm or snowfall of the season? While this could be due to any number of factors, such an increase could likely be attributed to the fact that the majority of drivers are not yet accustomed to or prepared for unique conditions such as icy roads. Unfortunately, this concept might also apply to our current situation.
Based on publicly available data, it seems like a majority of NYC drivers took a break from their normal driving routines. This gave everyone plenty of time to develop new habits while possibly forgetting what it is like to drive during bumper to bumper in rush hour traffic. As more cars rapidly return to city streets, it can be assumed that many people will simultaneously experience a fast re-acclimation period. When the roads become slick with ice for the first time during a new winter season, this type of re-acclimation may also happen. For some drivers, it may only take a few seconds or minutes to adjust their habits safely. Others, who are less experienced in such conditions or distracted while driving, may find their timing is off for longer.
It's hard to say for sure what effect a two month dull in traffic patterns will have on the abilities of drivers. However, it is safe to say that everyone has felt a little more distracted than usual recently while considering the many changes going on in the world due to the pandemic. For this reason, one reasonable hypothesis might be that as the rate of mobility shown by data sources increases, so too will the number of motor vehicle accidents.
(3) Drivers may have gotten sloppy
It is important to note it might not apply to the city where you live but you should definitely be aware of the possibility that drivers might have allowed their etiquette to become a little too relaxed during a time when they did not have to follow all the rules of the road.
Laws should always be followed. This is especially true on the roadways. But during March, April, and May it seemed like there might have been less frequent enforcement of the laws regarding things like speeding, distracted driving and general common sense on the road.
During trips to and from work or the store you may have noticed a slight increase in the number of cars changing lanes without signaling correctly. In some parts of NYC, it also seemed like vehicles were driving faster than usual. Again, this is certainly not something that is recommended. But, for whatever reason, some people acted as if it would be easier to get away with such things while law enforcement was busy with issues related to the potential public health crisis.
In addition to feeling as if there were fewer law enforcement officers available to police careless behavior, drivers may also have felt the roadways were also clearer than usual during the pandemic. This meant that some mistakes might not lead to accidents because there were fewer cars nearby to crash into. All of this changes very quickly as hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions, of drivers in NYC accelerate back onto the streets and highways again as restrictions are lifted.
If you've been involved in an accident during this time, you may need an expert injury lawyer by your side. Contact our office today!