It finally happened. 2020 is over and we are headed into a new year full of new possibilities and opportunities. As 2021 begins, however, we need to remain vigilant on the road to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Adverse weather and negligent drivers are still as much of a problem now as they ever were, and the statistics show it.
The number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. declined in 2020 as the pandemic hit and fewer people took to the roads. The rate of traffic-related deaths, however, increased.
According to a report by the National Safety Council:
- The number of U.S. traffic fatalities decreased by 8% in May 2020.
- The rate of traffic fatalities—represented by the number of deaths per 100 million miles traveled—increased by about 25% that same month.
You can read more about this subject in our blog: Have Car Accidents Decreased During the COVID-19 Crisis?
As restrictions eased toward the end of 2020 and more people returned to work and school, Pennsylvania’s roads became more congested again. Today, most traffic has reached relatively normal levels across the state. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of what you can do to avoid a collision—and how to conduct yourself in the event of a car accident in terms of social distancing requirements.
What You Can Do to Prevent Car Accidents During the Pandemic
Maybe we all thought that 2021 would bring a miraculous end to the pandemic. Unfortunately, this is not the case. In Pennsylvania, the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases steadily increased from the end of October through mid-December 2020. About 8,000 new cases were reported in the state just yesterday, January 13, 2021. We need to conduct ourselves with caution to bring this situation to an end, and that includes how we act on the road.
What can you do to prevent auto accidents?
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or prescription drugs.
- Always drive defensively, and never assume that another driver can see you.
- Obey Pennsylvania traffic laws at all times.
- Drive according to current road, traffic, and weather conditions.
- If you’re feeling ill, don’t get behind the wheel.
- If you are involved in an auto accident, maintain social distancing.
Defensive Driving Tips
When driving on the highway, practice defensive driving by using these safe driving tips:
- Give other drivers space. This gives you more margin to make evasive moves should an accident or emergency occur in front of you.
- Always wear a seatbelt. No one ever knows when a crash is going to happen—and a lot of them happen in parking lots. Seatbelts make it 50 percent more likely that you'll survive a crash.
- Put your phone in the glovebox. Distracted driving is the cause of half of all vehicle collisions.
- Give up on driving aggressively. Driving faster or getting around traffic saves us 1-2 minutes at most—but it increases the odds that we'll hurt ourselves. What are a few seconds worth to you?
Auto Accidents & Social Distancing
If you find yourself involved in a collision, Call 911 if anyone is seriously injured or the accident is blocking traffic. If possible, put on your mask, get out of your car, and talk to the other driver or any other parties involved. An exchange of insurance and driver’s license information can be done by taking a picture with your cell phone. Avoid physical contact. Remember to report the crash to your insurance company and to get the information of any witnesses present or officers/emergency personnel that arrive on the scene.
You can keep yourself safe by being aware, following traffic laws, and driving defensively. And if another driver causes a crash despite your best efforts to be safe, you can apply appropriate social distancing rules while handling the aftermath.
If you or someone you know has been in a car accident in Pennsylvania, you can turn to Handler, Henning & Rosenberg LLC for the experienced and caring counsel you deserve. We’ve fought for clients across Central PA for nearly 100 years, helping people get through the toughest times of their lives. We’re standing by to see how we can help you.
Call (888) 498-3023 today for a free consultation.