There is no denying that the coronavirus has changed the lives of people across the globe. We are all trying to navigate our new way of life and interact with the world around us.
Our homes have always been our sanctuary, but now they feel almost claustrophobic for many people as the monotony of staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly everyone in the U.S.
That might be why so many people who are tired of staring at the same four walls for weeks at a time are boldly beginning to venture out and hit the roads again. However, after spending weeks off the roads, is this newfound sense of freedom putting drivers at risk?
What States Have the Largest Uptick in Travel?
Slowly more and more Americans are venturing out of their homes and hitting the wide-open roads. While many states haven’t seen the volume of traffic swell quite yet, several states are beginning to see an uptick in travel. According to one news outlet, Michigan is one of the states seeing a significant rise in the amount of driving traffic.
The Associated Press looked at data from smartphones and other GPS services to provide data on which areas of the country have been seeing the most miles traveled. In addition to Michigan, Minnesota, and Montana also saw large upticks in the number of drivers on the road again.
New Mexico is also seeing an increase in travel.
Increase in Driving Tied to ‘Lockdown Fatigue’
This increase in traffic may suggest that Americans are becoming tired of their time locked indoors and are yearning to get out of the house again. One report from Autoblog shows that driving activity is still down due to coronavirus concerns, traffic is at its highest point since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Summer is starting, and people who have been indoors and isolated for weeks or months are cautiously testing the waters by getting behind the wheel again. Another side effect of the pandemic has been the steep drop in gas prices. This paired with so-called “lockdown fatigue” may be sparking more people to get out and drive again.
How Will Americans Commute After Lockdowns End?
While it may still be too early to tell what impact the coronavirus will have on the future of travel in America, some signs may point to coming changes in the way we commute. Many companies have found that telecommuting and video conferencing have reshaped how they communicate and do business.
In fact, the pandemic may have kick-started the telecommuting phenomenon into high gear in New Mexico and across the country. Where working remotely was once rare, the pandemic has shown us that not only is it possible, it can be profitable. According to researchers at The Brookings Institution, telecommuting will most likely continue in many industries long after the pandemic has subsided. More people working from home may mean fewer cars clogging city streets.
Mass transit has taken a substantial hit due to the coronavirus, and it is not altogether clear if or when the industry will recover. Mass transit, like buses and subways, relies on large groups of people gathering together in a small space to get to a specified location. Mass transit has the huge task of finding routine sanitation measures that will reassure the public that they are safe forms of transportation.
The Washington Post reports that riders are still nervous about safety measures and being in such close proximity to one another. A decline in bus or subway commuters may mean that those people have to find other methods of transportation, turning mass transit commuters into drivers.
In some cities like Albuquerque, more drivers on the road mean already crowded streets could become even more congested. This may lead to more traffic accidents, road congestion, and longer commuting times.
Effects of Increased Driving on Car Crash Rates
One of the perhaps unforeseen and unfortunate aspects of the coronavirus epidemic is the toll it is taking on our roads. For example, Minnesota, where there has been a recent increase in traffic, law enforcement is seeing those once empty streets turn into danger zones. Drivers who think the roads are empty are taking chances behind the wheel and engaging in risky and sometimes deadly behavior.
Car crash death rates have suddenly spiked in many states, despite or perhaps because of reduced traffic. Drivers are “taking advantage” of open highways by speeding and driving recklessly, thinking that there will be no consequences because they don’t see many other cars out on the road.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The disturbing pattern emerging is that while there may be 50 percent fewer cars out on the roads, people are dying from car accidents at a higher rate.
When Should You Call a Lawyer?
The easing of restrictions and the urge people have to get out of the house may have sparked the return of the great American road trip. People are ready to start venturing out of their homes, and many are hitting the road to do it.
As more people get comfortable with the idea of leaving home, they may have forgotten some of the basic rules of the road. They may even spurn those rules thinking that an open road gives them the freedom to drive any way they want. What do you do when this reckless and negligent behavior harms you?
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, don’t trust a negligent driver’s insurance company to make sure you are taken care of. An experienced attorney with Parnall Law can fight to seek the compensation you need to get back on your feet again.