If you have been on any of the freeways or even in town, you may have noticed that it seems that people are driving faster and more recklessly than before. This is because it IS happening more.
For rough figures, from 2019 (normal driving conditions- Pre Covid) through the end of 2020 (reduced driving due to Covid) there were roughly 20 percent fewer miles driven because of people staying at home, yet 18 percent MORE fatal accidents on the roads in America than in the year before. How can that be?
Speed Kills. Recently I drove by Chicago on I-294 and without exaggeration, I was one of only a handful of cars anywhere near the posted speed limits. It was nothing to see a line of 10 or 12 cars speeding past me (I’m doing 77 MPH in a 70MPH zone) so fast that the wind coming off of their vehicles pushed me around in my lane. To guess that they were doing 100MPH+ is certainly not a stretch. And it wasn’t an isolated group. The whole way through, I was worried about getting rear-ended by these crazy drivers.
Any mass-produced car is capable of 100mph, but not made to have passengers survive 100mph crashes. That’s true of all but the highest-end, made for the track, WAY into 6 and 7 figure price tag types of cars. Vehicles that are destined to be driven on the roads as common transportation are crash tested at only 40mph.
We can speculate about why this is happening, but a better approach is to consider what you can do about it. Here are a few ideas:
- Be aware of people coming up quickly behind you and DO NOT change lanes to avoid them. They will fly around you and if you make a lane change in front of them, they may rear end you.
- If possible, drive in off-peak times of the day.
- Always look for an escape route if an accident happens in front of you. This piece of advice comes straight from the motorcycle safety course. It’s very applicable in a car as well.
- Don’t follow traffic if they are doing crazy speeds. Not only to avoid getting a ticket, but if the lead car gets a flat tire, it will likely end up in a huge pile up and you don’t want any part of that. Forget the ticket- watch out for your own safety.
- PUT THE CELL PHONE DOWN!!!! Keep in mind that the faster you go, the more ground that is covered with you not being able to react to something if you had to.
We all hope this is just a phase and that it passes soon, but in the meantime please be careful, watch out for each other and do what YOU can to keep yourself safe.