Have Speeding Accidents Increased Due to COVID?
COVID-19 has made a heavy impact on our way of life. Where most schoolchildren would be in the classroom, now they stay at home on video calls all day. When you would expect to see trick-or-treaters, you instead find empty sidewalks. Hospitals are full, and offices are empty. America under lockdown is a strange sight to see. However, a place that people may not realize is impacted are the roads and highways. With empty streets, many drivers have opted to speed, increasing the level of danger on the road.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the fatality rates per miles driven, or the number of people killed for every mile they drove, jumped a staggering 23.5% in May of 2020. It was during this month that most of the country was in quarantine and had been for some weeks. This alarming statistic points to an ongoing trend of road-related deaths indirectly due to COVID-19 in America.
While each state has had a different reaction to the pandemic, most have resorted to some form of lockdown. This has left many roads near empty, or at least clearer than they were before. Due to this, many drivers have taken the opportunity to reach their destinations faster than ever. How do they do this? By speeding. While most people agree shorter commutes to work are a blessing, speeding is never the answer. The act is incredibly dangerous, as shown in the spike of fatalities in May. A spike that will likely continue as many states enter the eighth month of lockdown.
This is true in Texas as well. While the state has opened a few times now, there is still an air of caution from most political leaders, employers, and business owners. For example, in March, when the first lockdown began, there was a drop in traffic of 66%, according to the Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research. While traffic has started to reached its normal levels again, as the pandemic once again spiked in the state and across the country, it is very likely that Texas will be forced into at least a partial lockdown once more. When that happens, so will the speeding.
When Speeding Becomes Dangerous
While most people are concerned with catching COVID-19 (which is a more than reasonable fear), what many Americans have not considered is the danger of a speeding spike. Speeding drivers are far more dangerous than those who follow the speed limit. That is for a few reasons, including:
Loss of reaction time: Within five seconds of traveling at 60 mph, a driver will travel over 400 feet. That is longer than a football field. If an object suddenly appears within that 400 feet, the driver will have just seconds to slow down or swerve out of the way. That is not a lot of time to react. At a slower speed, the driver will have much more time to decide the best course of action. When speeding, however, drivers have to make knee-jerk reactions that could lead to a serious collision, if they have time to make any decision at all.
Greater force of impact: An object in motion, stays in motion. Most of us learned that in middle school science classes, and inertia is a rule that applies to vehicles as well. The faster a car goes, the more energy it builds up. When it collides with another vehicle, that built-up energy has to go somewhere. Usually, it flows through the speeding vehicle into the other vehicle, and then into the passengers. The faster a car goes, the more built-up energy, and so the greater force during a collision. This can lead to catastrophic injuries, or even death. After all, the human body is not designed to take such high levels of force.
Increased stopping distance: No brake works instantly. Even the best set on the market take at least a couple of seconds to bring a car to a full stop. Older models can take more than twice that time. However, the faster the vehicle is going, the longer it takes to slow down, let alone completely stop. Even slamming on the brakes will not be enough to keep from hitting another vehicle, objects in the road, or even a pedestrian. The faster a driver goes, the harder it is to stop before a collision.
If you have become the victim of a speeding driver, you are likely feeling scared, hopeless, and alone. We at the Lenahan Law Firm understand that fear. A serious car collision is a traumatic event, and it can be difficult to recover from, emotionally, physically, and financially. While we can’t reverse what was done, we can help you get back on your feet. To speak with a personal injury attorney, call our firm at (214) 295-1008 today.