California Drivers Acting Recklessly on Newly Empty Roads

busy street

If there’s one thing we’re used to in Southern California, it’s traffic. The recent pandemic, along with the statewide stay-at-home orders, has changed that norm. With many Californians working from home and/or refraining from non-essential travel, our roads have become much more open—and much more attractive to those who want to put their car through its paces. Traffic volumes may have dropped 35%, but in the first month of the stay-at-home order, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) saw speeding tickets for drivers going over 100 mph increase by 87%.

Though the drivers who have been speeding at these rates don’t seem to be considering safety before they step on the gas, the rest of us have to worry about ourselves and our loved ones. If you are on the road, we recommend driving with extra caution, so you have more time to react to the dangerous and reckless folks taking advantage of our temporary respite from traffic.

A Deadly Practice

Freeways may be designed for speed, but California’s road engineers never planned for drivers going 100 mph or more. When traveling this fast, there’s virtually no time for a driver to react to an unexpected danger. There’s also a higher risk a driver will lose control of their car. Add those risks to the fact that high-speed accidents tend to be more deadly, and it’s easy to see why this wave of speeding is extremely dangerous for all.

The data bears this simple hypothesis out. The National Safety Council calculated a 14% increase in fatalities per mile driven on American roads in March of 2020 when compared to March of 2019. At the same time, drivers traversed only 81% of the miles they had in the previous year. While the number of fatal accidents has decreased in some states due to the overall drop in drivers on the road, California has seen 8% more people killed by car accidents so far this year.

Aside from illustrating a heartbreaking trend, high-speed collisions may also be hurting our efforts to contain the novel coronavirus and keep our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Not only do first responders and accident victims risk exposure at the scene of an accident, but many patients end up being rushed to emergency rooms where short-staffing has become a concern. By using valuable medical resources, reckless drivers are working against the system most of us are trying to support.

The Danger Is in Our Neighborhoods, Too

While the drivers going over 100 may be racing down highways and interstates, that’s not to say in-town drivers haven’t been taking advantage of emptier streets. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported that, in Los Angeles, drivers are traveling 30% faster on average—a change serious enough to prompt adjustments to traffic light and walk signal timing.

Especially with kids home from school and camp and people turning to walking, jogging, or riding bikes as exercise, speeding may be even more dangerous on busy city streets and in residential areas. Not only do drivers have less time to react to unexpected situations, but pedestrians and bicyclists, who have no protection against accidents, are much more likely to face serious or even fatal injuries the faster a car is going.

Stay Safe by Being Ready for Speeding Drivers

From Mulholland Drive to the PCH, reckless drivers are endangering the rest of us across Southern California. One CHP officer even caught someone driving over 150 mph. In the face of such recklessness, those of us who follow the laws may not know how to react. None of us can control others’ behaviors, but we can do our best to stay vigilant, knowing there are extra dangers on our roads:

  • Whether you’re walking, biking, or driving, keep your attention off your cellphone. One second of warning may be enough to help you avoid injury.
  • If you’re walking or biking, don’t listen to music. Use all your senses to stay aware of your surroundings.
  • Keep in mind stress can be a distraction, too. Many of us are facing new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This means it’s even more important to keep our focus on traffic safety when we’re behind the wheel.
  • Continue to follow the rules of the road, even when you feel the “flow of traffic” is faster than your speed. The more drivers who choose to speed, the more danger everyone is in.

If you are in an accident, don’t make these mistakes that could hurt your chances of receiving the compensation you need to cover your injuries. Call our attorneys for help. You can be confident in our team’s commitment to helping our clients.

With all the additional hardships facing us right now, struggling to negotiate a fair settlement with an insurer isn’t a stressor anyone needs. We can take on the hard work of filing and following up on your claim so you can focus on your recovery and your loved ones.

Call us at (949) 565-4281 if you’ve been injured in a speeding accident. For your safety and ours, we are currently offering consultations via phone, email, and videoconferencing.

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