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Are Fatal Car Accidents Increasing During the Pandemic?

February 15, 2021

In the beginning of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many people stopped traveling because of safety reasons. Many people worked remotely and canceled trips. This left roadways less congested than in the pre-pandemic months. Despite fewer cars on the highways, car accident fatality rates rose during the first part of 2020, according to recent data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Data scientists and car safety experts agree that the jump in fatalities corresponds with increased levels of speeding.

Even on empty roads, vehicles traveling too fast may not be able to properly brake or respond in the event of an impending collision. This means more drivers and passengers are at risk of dying due to poor driving behaviors.

Why Do Drivers Speed?

Drivers speed for a number of reasons, such as the following:

  • The flow of traffic is moving quickly, causing the driver to speed up to keep up.
  • The driver is late for an appointment, such as work.
  • There are few cars on the road, so obeying the speed limit seems unnecessary.
  • The driver has little regard for speed limits.
  • The driver is distracted.
  • The driver assumes that the vehicle can absorb or mitigate the impact of a crash.
  • The driver is being tailgated by another driver and feels pressure to speed.

No matter why a driver speeds, speeding can prove fatal. Driving just 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit can increase the chance of getting into a serious accident significantly, regardless of the type of car being driven.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) studied crash tests results and evaluated the injury risk differential between driving at 40 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour. The risk of a driver getting hurt almost quadrupled, going from 15 percent to 59 percent. It is recommend that drivers remain cautious and alert to avoid serious car accident injuries.

How Do I Change Unsafe Driving Habits?

Drivers can make every journey safer by making changes in their driving habits, especially habits that lead to speeding. Paying attention to posted speed limits, avoiding distracted driving, and never driving aggressively are good starts. Though it can be difficult to stay within the speed limit on a busy highway, drivers should still exercise caution and remain within an acceptable speed rate.

In addition to slowing down, drivers can establish other behaviors to reduce their likelihood of getting into fatal accidents on the highway:

  • Maintain a decent following distance between the car in front.
  • Stay attuned to the conditions of the roadway, especially in hazardous weather conditions.
  • Avoid sudden lane changes.
  • Be aware of the location and movement of other vehicles.

How Do I Avoid a Speeding Driver?

Speeding drivers continue to cause problems for other drivers and passengers. The best way to avoid speeders is to allow them to pass when it is appropriate. Aggressive tailgating should not be tolerated, and the driver in front should not speed up to accommodate a tailgater.

A car accident victim may want to contact a personal injury lawyer before filing an insurance claim. Talking with a legal professional can be a good first step to attempt to recover fair damages after a catastrophic crash.

Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Clients with Car Accident Cases During the Pandemic

After a speed-related accident, you deserve to know your legal rights. Speak to a Delaware County personal injury lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. for help with your case. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.