You were careful and followed the quarantine guidelines to minimize the danger that you put yourself or anyone else in when it came to the Coronavirus. But when you went out on the road, you were involved in an accident. You may have already been dealing with a reduction in pay if you were not an essential worker, and now you have medical bills piling up and need to get your car repaired. No matter how careful you were during quarantine, both on the road and off, it seems that someone else’s poor judgment can derail your life.
Quarantine Automobile Accidents
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there were three straight months during the COVID-19 quarantine when drivers were at a higher risk of fatal car accidents despite there being fewer vehicles on the road. Across the US, the mileage death rate per 100,000 million miles actually rose from 1.19 in 2019 to 1.47 in May of 2020, when most states were under quarantine restrictions. In general, there was roughly the same number of vehicular accidents during the COVID-19 quarantine even though the traffic was significantly reduced.
Reasons Why Roads Were Not Safer During Quarantine
Common sense would say that fewer vehicles on the roads would mean roads that were safer. But during the Covid-19 quarantine months in the United States, that was not necessarily true. The number of quarantine accidents can, however, be explained.
Many people have turned to alcohol to help get them through the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic as well as quarantine issues such as increased isolation, living in close quarters with others (e.g., family members) for extended periods of time, and dealing with the emotional upheavals of family, friends, and colleagues. In addition, more moderate drinkers may have turned into heavy drinkers during the quarantine for the same reasons. This, in turn, means that even though there may be less traffic on the roads you still run the risk of encountering someone driving impaired.
In the Philadelphia area, DUIs did not decrease as much as some expected during the quarantine. Instead, there was a slight increase in alcohol-related accidents during some months, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Even though there were fewer drivers, more drivers may have been intoxicated or under the influence of mind-altering drugs (both prescribed and illegal) as people struggled to deal with pressure, depression, and worsening of mental health symptoms. However, the reasons behind impaired driving do not justify putting others at risk of injury or death.
Empty Roads and a False Sense of Safety
Some attribute a rise in automobile accidents to emptier roads that encourage speeding and a false sense of safety. According to an article in the New York Times, the number of speeding tickets doubled during the first few months of quarantine, despite the roads being practically empty. Automated speeding cameras in New York tracked thousands of speeding violations, with the number doubling in the month of March 2020. According to Pennsylvania Real-Time News, many drivers over Memorial Day weekend were clocked at speeds in excess of 100 mph.
And with fewer vehicles on the road, many drivers may feel that it is not a risk to take a look at their smartphone while on the road or pay less attention in general to their driving. Others are intentionally engaging in more risky behavior, such as drag racing. All of these attitudes are dangerous for others on the road — no matter how safe and careful you may be while driving, other people can put you at terrible risk.
Out of Practice Drivers
Some drivers may also be out of practice after months of remaining close to home. While driving may seem more or less like an automatic behavior, it is not. To remain a good driver requires not just careful attention and basic knowledge of traffic laws but regular practice. Most people receive significant practice as they drive back and forth to work or take care of regular errands. The COVID-19 quarantine, however, seriously impacted this and normal routines became a thing of the past. As a result, many people got back onto the roads with their skills a bit rusty.
This is especially true with teenage drivers who do not already have several years of experience to help them readjust quickly. Their progress may have been stalled, making a return of young people en masse to the road a somewhat dangerous situation. Quick recognition of dangers on the road and safe interaction with other drivers are key to preventing accidents. But these skills suffer when people are out of practice or inexperienced.
Regardless of what caused your quarantine auto accident, you still have to deal with insurance companies, have your automobile repaired, take care of related medical bills, and deal with any injuries you received. A pandemic does not put your needs on hold, financial or otherwise. And that is a very good reason why you should seek the assistance of an experienced legal team. With the stress of dealing with the aftermath of quarantine measures, having someone on your side to represent your rights and needs is a wise choice.
Donaghue & Labrum
At Donaghue & Labrum, we will fight for you to get the compensation you deserve under the law. With over two decades of experience representing our clients both inside and outside the courtroom, our personal injury team will put the law to work for you. If you or someone you care about has been injured in an auto accident, contact us today for a consultation!