If you commute to work during typical business hours, you may have noticed a change: rush hour isn’t quite as “rushed” as it used to be.
It’s not just you. Traffic data suggests that the daily commute – particularly in the morning – has changed drastically since the start of the pandemic, and it’s unclear if it will go back to its pre-COVID-19 patterns.
In general, rush hour traffic has become more spread out and shifted to include the later hours of the morning as more Americans have transitioned to remote work. Although it’s expected that more people will return to the workplace following Labor Day, traffic experts believe that traffic will continue to stay lighter than it was prior to 2020.
Less Road Time, More Accidents
Less congestion on the road seems like it would have no downsides. Commutes are quicker and there’s less time waiting in stop-and-go traffic, which means less stress and potential for road rage. However, it also means there are more dangerous hours on the road, as open roads encourage speeding and increase the potential for deadly accidents.
Even with fewer people on the road, it’s more dangerous out there than it was before the pandemic.
In 2020, the fatality rate per 100 million miles traveled on U.S. roads was 1.37, a 23% increase from 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The reason behind this is simple: there was less traffic, so people could go faster. The National Safety Council also estimates that just under 4.8 million people were seriously injured in collisions in 2020.
To add to the issue, police aren’t stepping in the way they would have prior to the pandemic. So, people are speeding because they know they can get away with it.
Now, with traffic returning, many areas have reported incidents of sudden braking and other potentially hazardous driving behaviors as drivers adjust to slightly more congested roads.
Whether you commute to the office daily or work remotely, it’s important to keep in mind that many people are still adjusting to life after a year of lockdown—and more traffic on the roads. Stay safe by keeping your eyes on the road, limiting distractions, and give people who want to go faster than the speed limit allows a wide berth.
If you do get into an accident, we’re here to help! From high-quality OEM repairs to complete insurance coordination on your behalf, we make the repair process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Give us a call at (415) 551-9700 or contact us online. Stay safe out there!