Car crashes happen every day. Unfortunately, they are happening more frequently today than in recent years, and statistics show spikes in fatal accidents. A recent report suggests a few factors and types of people who may be contributing to this troubling trend.
In a recent New York Times article, one doctor noted that so-called social disengagement could be contributing to increased crashes. This phrase refers to the emotional and psychological challenges people have been battling as a result of isolation and decreased social contact.
This has led to losses of pleasure, comfort and support, potentially leading to more reckless behaviors behind the wheel.
Heightened stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety can also be factors in people driving dangerously. They might take risks they wouldn’t take otherwise or drive while they are distracted by worries or racing thoughts. They may also be less patient.
Further, people may be so overwhelmed by fears about COVID that they let their guard down in avoiding other risky situations. Speeding home from work may not seem so dangerous to someone who has spent all day worried about exposure threats.
Since the pandemic, a few trends have emerged suggesting more drivers are driving recklessly than before.
First, traffic levels have dropped, meaning people who are on the road may be driving faster and making more aggressive moves behind the wheel. Reports state that there has even been an increase in street racing.
Additionally, the pandemic has contributed to spikes in alcohol and drug abuse. Thus, drivers may be more likely to be impaired.
Are changes coming?
Some areas are working to reverse this trend by increasing and improving traffic enforcement. And projects across Chicago are underway to make streets and highways safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. There are also national crash-reduction strategies proposed by the Transportation Department under consideration.
Whether these measures prove successful or not remains to be seen. In the meantime, Chicago drivers would be wise to stay alert and practice safe driving behind the wheel.