There is no doubt that 2020 has altered the majority of individuals’ day-to-day routines across the country. Over the last several months, states have imposed mandates – such as non-essential business closures and stay-at-home orders – that have dramatically reduced the amount of traffic on roadways. While in the beginning, these orders gave the impression of a steep decline in traffic accidents and fatalities, recent data suggests otherwise. According to the National Safety Council, roadways across the country have reported a 36.6% increase in fatalities for the month of April despite state orders that should have reduced traffic congestion.
False Sense of Security
The spike in car accident fatalities is particularly peculiar due to the reduction of traffic on roads during the same month. Sadly, many drivers developed a false sense of security about driving due to fewer vehicles on the road. While there has been considerably less traffic, this does not mean a safety net has been cast for drivers and passengers. If anything, safe driving practices have been reduced by the misconception that drivers can be more lax with regard to safe driving behaviors and obeying traffic laws because they feel they have the roads to themselves. When drivers engage in reckless driving behavior they normally would not – such as speeding – the chances of losing control or causing an accident remain as high, if not higher, than that of normal road and traffic conditions. Some drivers have interpreted less traffic on highways and roads to mean they don’t have to drive as defensively.
While the term defensive driving gives off an aggressive tone, it is vital to both driver and passenger safety. Defensive driving refers to the actions taken by drivers and passengers in preparation for the dangerous and reckless behaviors of those with whom they share the roads. Defensive driving does not only apply to motor vehicle drivers and passengers, motorcycle riders and bicyclists must also practice defensive driving, as they are without the physical barriers and protection motor vehicles provide in the event of an accident. Drivers and passengers can follow these safety tips:
- Always use a seatbelt when in a vehicle
- Always wear protective gear and equipment such as helmets, gloves, and eye coverings if traveling on a bicycle or motorcycle
- Avoid driving when sleep deprived or fatigued; pull over at a rest stop if necessary
- Avoid distractions while driving, such as talking or texting on a cell phone, changing radio stations, applying makeup, eating or drinking, and attempting to use or change navigation/maps
- Never drive while intoxicated or under the influence; designate a sober driver beforehand
Drivers who make a habit of practicing defensive driving techniques while behind the wheel can keep the roads safer for everyone. When all drivers remain focused on the road and are able to be attentive to and adapt to changes in course, speed, and traffic warnings, the likelihood of having to abruptly stop, maneuver lanes, or make other sudden movements that can cause accidents are reduced.
Houston Car Accident Attorneys
Houstonians understand better than anyone that even under strict state mandated orders, driving is an essential and almost unavoidable aspect of daily life. Considering this and the false sense of driving security many have felt during the Coronavirus pandemic, it is sadly easy to understand the increase in reckless driving behavior that has claimed even more lives during such an unprecedented time. Regardless of the current health crisis, traffic laws and regulations remain in place. Drivers who speed, drive while intoxicated, and/or ignore traffic signs and signals are knowingly putting innocent lives in danger. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a Houston car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the personal injury trial attorneys at Adame Garza for a free consultation today. There is limited time to act following a Texas car accident, so don’t delay.