It does not take a statistician to prove that the roads were quieter than ever last year. A simple look out of the window of your house or car would have been enough to confirm that there were fewer cars than usual.
This contributed to more traffic fatalities per mile traveled during 2020 than for over 100 years.
Less traffic encourages worse driver behavior
Let’s look at a few examples of how the traffic on the road affects how people drive:
- More traffic makes speeding harder: Serious injury or death is more probable at higher speeds. It is harder to go fast if you need to weave in and out of other vehicles. On an open road, all it takes to reach a deadly speed is to push your pedal to the floor.
- More traffic requires you to pay more attention: When the road is clear, it is easier to relax, daydream or sing along to your favorite album. A busy road holds your attention.
- More traffic means less chance to take your hands off the wheel: When the road is busy, you keep your hands on the wheel as you know you need to steer. An empty road can seem like a chance to grab a snack from your bag or pick up your phone to send a message.
- More traffic means you are less likely to doze off: You fight to stay awake when tired and the road is busy. When the road stretches out empty ahead of you, your body and mind relax, allowing fatigue to take over.
Driving long stretches of empty roads is part of the American dream. Yet it comes with danger. There will be drivers on them who are speeding, distracted or drifting off. If they crash into your car, they are likely to injure you more than when in heavy, slow-moving traffic.