COVID-19 affected every aspect of life, including driving. Collision rates dropped drastically at first because of the lockdown. Later, as the world began to re-open, a surprising trend emerged.
COVID-19 and auto collision statistics
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant reduction in the number of accidents on roads and highways across many countries. With fewer people travelling due to stay-at-home orders, fewer vehicles are on the road, leading to an overall decrease in accident rates. Additionally, with more people working from home and spending less time out and about during this period of social distancing, there’s also less chance for distracted driving or reckless behaviour that can lead to accidents.
How COVID-19 has had a negative impact on auto collisions
However, motor vehicle deaths increased by 8.3 percent after three years of consecutive reductions. What’s happening on the roads? With so much disruption caused by lockdowns and travel bans, people are understandably eager for some sense of normalcy. As a result, people may be more willing to take risks when out on the roads or drive faster than usual.
Secondly, since most public transport systems were suspended during lockdowns–or at least experienced significant disruptions –many commuters have resorted to using their own cars instead. This change in behaviour means there are now far more cars on our roads, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Thirdly, cars may not have had the upkeep they needed while locked away in their garages. Poorly maintained vehicles are harder to control, making them a factor in auto collisions.
How can we make our roads safer?
These statistics can be changed. Governments can move to take several steps to reduce collision mortality rates following COVID-19. We outline them below.
Increase public awareness
Drivers need to be reminded about the importance of safe driving habits. Governments must inform people that speeding and distracted driving rates are far too high. The repercussions of bad driving habits are fatal, but those habits can change. Awareness of these trends increases individuals’ chance to adjust their behaviours and make the roads safer.
Implement stricter enforcement
Law enforcement may have been lax over the years of the pandemic. Police enforcement agencies can prioritize street safety. Also, stricter enforcement measures, such as harsher penalties for reckless driving, could encourage drivers who may be used to free rein on the roads or unconsciously driving too fast to adhere to the speed limits.
Invest in safer infrastructure
Traffic can be calmed by building features that slow drivers down and clarify their options and obligations. Investing in roundabouts, median barriers, and improved signage can slow traffic down and help prevent accidents. Barriers will also protect vehicles traveling in opposite directions from potential collisions.
Promote alternative transportation
Public perception of mass transit may have been disrupted during the pandemic. Also, the public may be opting to drive their cars over concerns for personal safety. Getting people back on public transit or their bikes will reduce the traffic on the road and potentially the number of collisions. Governments must remind the public that mass transit is available, safe, and inexpensive.
Improve driver education
Drivers, specifically, new drivers, need to be trained to drive well. Better driver education includes defensive driving, avoiding distraction, proper maintenance of the vehicle, and techniques for staying aware not only of the cars but the pedestrians and bikers who create a possible emergency. Driver education saves lives.
Encourage vehicle maintenance
Drivers should be made aware of safe vehicle maintenance strategies—habits they may have dropped during the years of the pandemic.
What you can do
Indeed, every driver is responsible for their own behaviour, and each of us can ensure that we drive within speed limits, follow road rules, and ignore our phones while driving. Also, if you’ve fallen out of the habit of regularly maintaining your vehicle, contact Simplicity Car Care today to book an inspection at a trusted auto shop near you.
If you’ve found us looking for an auto collision center or an auto body collision center, Simplicity Car Care centers are the auto collision experts who will take care of your vehicle from towing to accident reporting to collision repair that’s done fast and gets you back on the road where you belong. Contact Simplicity Car Care for a car repair appointment today.