Fewer people are driving because of COVID-19 — but more of them are getting into accidents

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2021/01/07/fewer-people-are-driving-because-of-covid-19-but-more-of-them-are-getting-into-accidents.html

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People are still driving too fast. 75-80 MPH is pretty normal around metro Detroit for flow-of-traffic speeds, but it’s become a pretty regular occurrence to have some idiot blow by you at 90-100.

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I think people who were in lockdown just very quickly forgot how to drive. That’s my totally anecdotally-based personal view.

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During the very strict lockdown last year traffic dropped to a tiny proportion of normal. Killings by drivers rose. The reason roads are relatively “safe” now is the metal boxes are bigger, people are less likely to die on them, and other road users have been driven, literally, off the roads.

My anecdata is that when I cycled a couple of times in that time for essential purposes cars were still parked on pavements and cycle lanes (despite most parking spaces being empty) and people drove insanely fast. The real thing stopping people driving at murderous speeds in urban areas is the amount of other cars on the road. The traffic defaults to the slowest people. Otherwise: pedal to the metal.

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It’s like the worst of all worlds… I hate this timeline.

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Totally agree. I find that when I go on the road lately I’ve been a little (5-10%?) less competent than I used to be due to the fact that I just haven’t been driving. 5-10% less across a whole population…

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I’ve been driving my old manual lately. Nothing makes you pay attention to what you are doing better than driving a car with all 4 limbs engaged in different movements.

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I’m sure its just coincidence, but I drove past the aftermath of five(!) car accidents yesterday. None looked too horrible, just drivers driving aggressive and shattering front ends. Idiot looking guys explaining to the police their side, but you could tell from the angle who was at fault. I trust no one these days and drive so passively you’d think I was a monk. Totally not worth the time and money for even bumping someone. May be time to invest in a dash cam.

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I’m glad there’s some data to back up what I’ve been feeling for months now. Seems like some people are just plain forgetting how to drive. And they’re compensating for their lack of skill with ludicrous speed. Maybe the second part is just me getting old. But the utter confusion at 4-way stop signs, though, that’s all too real.

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I concur with @IronEdithKidd. Some are using the streets as their own personal speedway. I used to have a heavy foot driving around, especially on the freeways of SoCal. But what little driving I’ve been doing around here, I noticed that I drive much slower than a year ago (slightly under the speed limit). However, I regularly see cars and trucks flying past me going 15-20 mph over the limit on surface streets.

It’s crazy.

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I remember walking over to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for my wife in April during the first lockdown. My usual route goes through one large intersection with a traffic light. On the way there, a car blatantly runs through the red light. On the way back, another car blatantly runs the red light and honks at me for having the gall to try to cross when I have a walk light.

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Anecdotally, since I went from driving at least a hour a day to maybe an hour a week, I noticed I am a bit more sloppy driving.

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They are not accidents. Nearly all are preventable by attentive drivers obeying traffic laws. There are many other words. Journalists are catching on to this fact, as are traffic officers (slowly) and departments of transportation. Please stop using the word “accidents.”

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From the point of view of the cop, they are less inclined to “greet the public” as each public encounter is a COVID risk. This is why I see them visible on the highway shoulders and pullouts rather than aggressively pursuing speeders and scofflaws, but will still engage the most egregious ones.

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Crash, not accident.

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I feel like this may explain the recent trend I’ve noticed of people refusing to turn off their high beams unless >1 car is coming from the other direction.

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A friend on the lower east side said that Jefferson Ave after dark becomes a free for all. He told a table of friends (a rare time my BF & I ate out after the plague began) about it. I told everyone how bad Grand River near Wayne State had become - every night we hear ppl speeding, tire burn-outs, everything imaginable. I cracked up everybody with an example. We heard some idiot tearing around speeding, screeching its tires, and then a very loud crash! It sounded so heavy, so intense that the maroon musta been doing at least 60 and hit either a parked or stopped car. We then heard a very loud, "Fuck!"

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Hearing “injury crash” and “non-injury crash” on El Lay, CA radio stations was harsh to my ear. I certainly do agree that someone’s always at fault, tho.

Every day I hear some idiot revving the hell out of their Charger or Camaro. Someone did burn-out donuts in one of my neighborhood’s larger intersections a couple months ago. So stupid.

My residential street (25 posted, in my neighbor’s front yard no less) is constantly besieged by county sheriff’s deputies flying down it in excess of 60 MPH. They clearly don’t give a fuck that they’re going to kill someone sooner than later. Oh, did I mention there’s a large park across the street? Yeah, and a senior center.

[As long as we’re complaining about shit in the metro, I may as well air some grievances :smirk:]

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