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Shutdowns Leading to Increased Speeding, Serious Accidents

Shutdowns Leading to Increased Speeding, Serious Accidents

Accidents Have Decreased Overall, but Serious Injuries May Be on the Rise

As government officials and public health experts have urged people to stay home unless conducting necessary business, cars have become much less central in many of our lives. For those who must still go to work or run essential errands, the roads have opened up. As you might expect, this has led to fewer car collisions overall. However, our team has been surprised to see an increase in serious accidents that are sending people to already-crowded hospitals or even resulting in fatalities.

Though Florida police are making fewer traffic stops in the interest of social distancing, they’ve noticed an increase in reckless drivers. The Florida Highway Patrol credits the decrease in congestion for a surge in drivers going 20, 30, or even 40 miles per hour over the speed limit. People ticketed for driving at such excessive speeds can face fines up to $1,000 and be required to appear in court and/or attend driving school. To many, this does not seem to matter. Police are doing their best to put a stop to this dangerous behavior, but it’s unfortunately coming at a bad time for everyone.

Speed and Distraction: A Dangerous Combination

For years, we’ve been sounding the alarm on the dangers of distracted driving. Cell phones and other electronics take our attention away from the road for what we think is an inconsequential amount of time. But, drivers using these items are more likely to cause accidents. It takes around 5 seconds to read and respond to a text message. If you do that at 55 mph, you’ll travel nearly the length of a football field during that time.

This certainly adds perspective to those who think taking their attention off the road for “just a second” can’t do any harm. Hazards can appear from any time and any place. One second of missed reaction time can cause a wreck. At that point, it doesn’t even matter who’s at fault—everyone loses.

The best way to avoid this kind of accident is simple: Don’t drive distracted. Even for those of us who are able to hold ourselves to this (admittedly difficult) standard, current stresses are slowly eroding our focus. With only our cell phones tethering us to the outside world, every news alert or text message seems more urgent. It could bring the answers we’ve been waiting for or help allay our fears. Even when we know it’s a bad idea, resisting the urge to see what’s happening is difficult these days.

That’s not to mention the worries we’re all learning to deal with. Even thinking about things other than driving increases your risk of causing an accident through inattention blindness. We understand how hard it is to keep your mind from cycling through the what-ifs during the uniquely stressful time we’re living in. However, making the effort can save lives (including yours).

The Risk Isn’t Restricted to Drivers

When we talk about car accidents, most of us think of 2 drivers on the side of the road, dented cars, and police directing traffic around the hazard. However, bike riders and pedestrians are also affected by distracted and reckless drivers’ behavior. Especially since walking and biking have become more popular forms of exercise (and transportation), drivers must be especially aware of their surroundings. Pedestrians and bike riders are slower than other cars and harder to see as well; they have less of a chance to perform evasive maneuvers than other drivers. They are also without seatbelts, airbags, and protective frames, meaning they’re much more likely to suffer catastrophic injury than a driver who hits one.

We Can All Do Our Part for Safety

Many of us feel we’re not at our best with the stress surrounding us, and that’s okay. It’s hard to feel happy and engaged when the news seems worse every day. However, if you do get behind the wheel of a car, that means you need to try even harder to be a perfect driver.

Hospitals are already crowded, and doctors and nurses overworked, by the number of COVID-19 victims who need treatment. There’s never a good time to need emergency care, but this is an especially bad moment. While we cannot control others’ behavior, we can think about ourselves before we make the decision to answer that call or slip into fretting about things we can’t control.

If you are hit by a distracted or reckless driver, make sure you have the support you need during your recovery. Our team can help you file a claim for damages and pursue compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident on your own can feel overwhelming. Our professionals are here to lend our skill and experience to your cause.

Call Roman & Gaynor any time to schedule a free consultation. You can reach our Clearwater and Pasco teams at (727) 877-1212 or send us a message online.

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