While it’s nice to think that a decrease in traffic is a good thing, empty roads open space for all kinds of dangerous activities. Since stay-at-home orders went into effect across the nation, illegal street racing has made a comeback, speeding tickets have gone up, and reckless driving has taken over.
Street Racing and Cannonball Runs
Without congestion and gridlock, many drivers and motorcyclists see roadways as urban racetracks. As one street racer told the New York Times:
“It’s amazing how fun it is to drive on the highways right now. It’s like having an American autobahn.”
During the COVID-19 lockdown, one anonymous crew of “cannonballers” drove over 3,000 miles from coast to coast, averaging speeds of more than 100 mph and breaking the pre-existing record. The Cannonball run is a highly illegal and infamous street race promoted by movie stars in the 70s and 80s. Drivers start in Manhattan and make it to Redondo Beach, California as fast as humanly (or mechanically) possible.
Although the race is thrilling, many argue that it is dangerous and ill-advised, especially when the only people on the roads right now are deemed essential to our nation’s survival. Another group of cannonballers canceled their run earlier this month.
In states like California, speeding tickets have gone down, but citations for speeds above 100 mph have increased by 42%. Cars and motorcycles are caught going up to 140 mph and people are not only getting tickets but also causing serious property damage. In New York, analysts estimate that 80% of drivers are exceeding the posted speed limits.
The temptation to speed might be real and the roads might seem safer than ever, but the consequences are never worth it, and empty roads present new dangers.
Severe Crashes and Reckless Driving
Cars slow other cars down, which can not only lead to fender benders and crashes but also prevent more serious collisions.
Highway patrol officers put it best:
“With no traffic, people are pushing the envelope a little more. The crashes are a little more dynamic, fewer fender-benders. Almost everyone has an ambulance responding.”
Law enforcement is also “on the lookout” for impaired and reckless drivers. Despite the free-for-all attitude of some drivers, the rules still apply, and officers are still pulling people over and issuing hefty fines.
Traffic planners remind us:
“We do have fewer car crashes right now, because there are fewer cars. But the crashes we do have are likely to be more severe because speed is the biggest determinant of serious injury and mortality — especially for pedestrians. Our hospitals can’t handle that right now.”
If you’re thinking about speeding or driving recklessly, don’t.
If you go out for an essential task, stay aware of your surroundings, drive defensively, and watch out for speeding or reckless drivers.
If you are hurt by someone else’s negligence, the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C. can help. With over 70 years of combined experience, 24/7 availability, and a reputation for excellent results, we are more than ready to handle whatever car accident, truck accident, or personal injury claim you bring our way.
Get started today: call us at (866) 590-8173 or click here to schedule your free meeting.