WASHINGTON, D.C. — There might be fewer cars on the road, but reckless driving could be increasing. Insurers urge motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists to be extra cautious during this time.
“While many drivers are taking a break from their routine commutes into the office, they must remember safety when getting behind the wheel to make essential trips to appointments or to purchase food and supplies,” said Tamra Johnson, assistant vice president of public affairs at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. “At a time when hospitals are already overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases, this is not the time to become reckless on the road.”
American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) encourages drivers to make safety a priority when they get behind the wheel:
Watch for pedestrian and cyclists: According to a 2020 report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), pedestrian deaths caused by drivers increased 50 percent in the past decade, reaching a 30-year high in 2019. As more Americans look for ways to stay active while at home, there are more pedestrians and cyclists on the road. Drivers should be alert and use caution when approaching crosswalks and traveling near walk trails or parks.
Follow the speed limit: High speeds can significantly increase the severity of a crash. Even with fewer vehicles on the road, drivers should be careful to follow the posted speed limits and reduce speeds in adverse weather conditions.
Eliminate distractions: Removing your eyes from the road for just two seconds can double the risk of a crash, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Drivers should keep their eyes and attention on the road and hands on the wheel by programming their GPS or navigation before starting their commute and not using their cell phones while driving.
Share the roads safely with large trucks: As the demand for essential items increases, truckers and commercial carriers are on the road keeping goods moving and supporting the supply chain during COVID-19. Drivers of passenger vehicles should share the road safely, and remember that trucks have blind spots, make wider turns and require additional stopping distance.
For drivers involved in a crash, APCIA recommends calling your auto insurer as soon as possible. Insurers have implemented contingency and continuity plans to protect their employees and reduce service interruptions. Insurers are also:
Adopting new technologies and remote solutions to minimize any interruptions in service and paying claims, such as using virtual inspection technology to complete damage inspections.
Prepared to be as flexible as possible within the terms of the policy, should there be any delays in vehicle repairs for reasons that are out of the control of the insurer, vehicle owner, or repair facility.
Limiting personal contact to protect their customers, employees, as well as collision repair facility personnel.